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John Jacob Mortvedt

January 25, 1932 ~ March 13, 2012 (age 80)

Dr. John Jacob Mortvedt joined his Lord and Savior on March 13, 2012, in Fort Collins, CO, after suffering a stroke. He was 80 years old. John was born on January 25, 1932, to Ernest and Clara Mortvedt in Dell Rapids, SD, where he spent his childhood on a farm. He earned his B.S. degree in agronomy from South Dakota State University in 1953 and married Marlene nee Fodness in Rapid City, SD, on January 23, 1955. After serving as an aviator with the U.S. Army for three years and farming for one year, John earned the M.S. degree in soil science from SDSU in 1959 and the Ph.D. degree in soil chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1962.

Dr. Mortvedt's professional career was with the Tennessee Valley Authority in Muscle Shoals, AL. A soil chemist in the Agricultural Research Department, he earned the TVA Bronze Honor Award in 1987, then worked as a senior scientist until 1992. He transferred to Fort Collins, CO, as a regional manager serving the Rocky Mountain area in the TVA Field Programs Department, retiring on July 9, 1993. He served as an Extension Specialist at Colorado State University through 1996 and was a Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Mortvedt published over 100 papers and book chapters. His studies were cited by federal and state agencies, and he is credited as inventor on two patents. At CSU, he supervised the revision of fertilizer suggestions for all major crops in Colorado.

Dr. Mortvedt was awarded the title of Fellow in three prestigious national scientific associations, and earned top awards for his service to the scientific community. He was President and Editor-in-Chief of the Soil Science Society of America. Colleagues around the nation write that John's "has been an exemplary career of dedicated service that would be difficult, if not impossible, to match."

John served as President of the Exchange Club of Florence, AL, sang in church choirs and served in congregational leadership for many years, and was President of the Florence Toastmasters. He loved golfing and football, handyman and outdoor projects, visiting with friends, and traveling around the world. God and his family were John's greatest joys. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many. His humble, sincere, and friendly demeanor will be deeply missed.

He is survived by his wife Marlene, daughters Sheryl (David) Jarratt, Lori (Gary) Klopf, and Julie (Chris) Stride, and grandchildren: Daniel (Andrea), Michael, and Andrew Jarratt; Marcia and Brian Klopf; Jack, Britta, and Brooke Stride. He is also survived by his sisters, Lucille (Phil) Ramstad and Audrey (Duane) Mortensen, brother, Robert (Becky), sisters Marilyn Terwilliger and Jeanne (Ken) Steinharter, brother-in-law Elmer Petersen, and many nieces and nephews. John was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Carole Petersen.

A memorial service was held at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church (Fort Collins, CO) on Thursday, March 15. A funeral service will be held at Lutheran Church of Dell Rapids (701 N. Orleans, Dell Rapids, SD) at 2pm, Saturday, March 17, with burial at Stordahl Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church ( or to Alzheimer's Association (

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