Joann Follett Mortensen
Joann Follett Mortensen, 82, passed away peacefully surrounded by family, on November 12, 2022, in St. George, Utah. Joann was born on July 26, 1940, in Pima, Arizona to Afton Follett & Opal Montierth Follett.
Predeceased by her husband, Irval Mortensen, her parents, and her younger sister Peggy Follett Jones. Joann is survived by her sons Dino (Laura) and Hal (Jeanna), and daughter, Tonya; eight grandchildren: Alexandra (Mike), A.J. (Valerie), Halie, (Jason), Jackson (Ansley), Jay (Sarah), Hanna (Hayden), Jeremiah, and Helena; 12 great-grandchildren: Bruce, Amandine, Olivia, Clark, Dimitri, Emma, Annie, Elouise, Felix, Jack, David, and a baby girl on the way. Joann is also survived by her brother Leslie (Marlene) Follett, brother in-law, Hollis Jones, sisters-in-law LaFaunda (Mark) Curtis and Jeanne (Lyle) Mortensen, nephews, nieces, and extended family.
Joann grew up in a loving home in Pima, Arizona. When she was a sophomore in high school her family moved to their home on 16th Street in Safford. She graduated from Safford High School in 1958. She first attended Eastern Arizona College then the University of Arizona, graduating in 1962 with a degree in Secondary Education.
Joann married Irval Mortensen in June 1960 while Irval was in Law School. After graduation from the University of Arizona, they returned to Safford. Joann was a Paralegal and Office Manager of Irval’s law practice for over 30 years. In 1993, she formed Partners in Leadership Development/Search Solutions, working primarily with rural school districts within Arizona, providing educational administrative services, motivational speaking, leadership development, and superintendent searches.
Joann’s work in education was extensive. She was a member of the Safford District School Board for 18 years serving three times as president. She also served on various education committees at the local, state, and national level such as Arizona School Board Association, Arizona State Board of Directors for Community Colleges, Advisory Committee for the NAU College of Education, Arizona Town Hall, Regional Board of the North Central Accrediting Association, and Far West Lab for Education Research and Development.
Her community work included, but was not limited to, serving on the Mt. Graham Community Hospital Board of Directors and a founding member of the hospital auxiliary, Gila Valley Arts Council, Democratic Women, Kids Voting, Academic Decathlon, Graham County Historical Society, the committee to restore the old Oddfellows Building, Eastern Arizona College Foundation, Eastern Arizona School to Work Partnership, and Graham County Focus Future Task Force.
Joann’s greatest love was family history. Along with vast collections of family group sheets, she was a published writer with articles in the Journal of Mormon History and Women in Faith in the Latter Days, Volume One; a presentation at the Mormon History Association; and the author of King Follett: The Man Behind the Discourse.
Joann served in various callings for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Safford area such as Ward Family History Specialist, Primary, Young Women’s and Relief Society Presidents. She loved teaching Gospel Doctrine classes. She and Irval later served as Senior Missionaries at The Church History Library in Salt Lake City, UT from 2010 to 2011. They also served in the South America South Area Office for the Church from 2013 to 2015, first in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then in Santiago, Chile.
Joann was known by her family and friends for being remarkably intelligent, gracious, thoughtful, determined, and a voracious reader. She lived a full life of service and devotion to her family, her faith, and her community.
A Celebration of Life will be held at McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel in Safford, Arizona on Saturday, November 26, 2022, at 1:00 p.m., with visitation from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. The services will be live streamed at https://www.caldwellfuneralchapel.com. Interment will be at the Safford City Cemetery.
Arrangements made through McDougal’s Funeral Chapel and Gila Valley Crematory located at 112 E Main St Safford, AZ 85546. 928-428-1740 www.Caldwell funeral chapel.com
Click this link to view additional details about Joann's Services, including any available live streams: https://my.gather.app/remember/joann-mortensen