Paula Ann Deline Mortimer, our beloved mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, returned to her heavenly home on May 8, 2020 after a brief battle with metastatic cancer. Although we will miss her dearly, our family finds great comfort knowing she is reunited with her eternal companion, Jim, who passed away a decade ago in May 2010.
Paula was born on January 16, 1937 in Inglewood, California to Kenneth Paul and Florence Clark Deline. Her upbringing was one of love. She was taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, the joys of music and the arts, hard work, and how to have fun. She adored her older sister Judy and their younger years were filled with playdates, pets, dance, music lessons, and the beach. Southern California was her home for most of her childhood and instilled in her a lifelong love of the ocean.
During junior high, her family moved to Logan, Utah. In her words, academics were not her first priority, but Paula excelled in drama, debate, music, and student government. She met her husband of nearly 54 years, William James (Jim) Mortimer, while she was in high school. On their first date, he promptly told her she was the woman he was going to marry. This scared Paula off and it took months before she’d even speak to him again. However, once they started dating she quickly knew Jim was her future husband.
Jim was assigned to active duty in the Korean War. He served for two years but the couple wrote to each other every day. While Jim was in Korea, Paula finished high school and attended Utah State University where she was actively involved in the theatre department and Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Paula and Jim were married in the Logan Temple on September 17, 1956. The day after their wedding, they hopped on a plane for New York City so Jim could start graduate school at Columbia University. After graduation, the couple moved to Salt Lake City and eventually settled in Cottonwood Heights where they happily raised seven children.
Their life together was full of faith, family devotion, and service. Both Jim and Paula were very generous. Their home on Kings Hill Drive was a haven for many and Paula lovingly nicknamed it “The Mortimer Hotel.” Paula was happiest when she was serving others. With her infectious smile, sense of humor and compassion, she made friends everywhere she went. At The Wentworth at Coventry, she was known as the “candy lady” because no one could cross her path without getting a treat.
Paula was extremely talented with a true artistic gift for drama, writing, and music. She shared her talents on the stage and behind the scenes in many community and church productions. She loved making people laugh. From performing “Horton Hears a Who” for a classroom of students to playing “Hello Dolly” on the piano when anyone entered the room, she was always an entertainer. A highlight from her life was creating the production “Celebration” with her best friend Jean Sorenson. In the early 1970’s, these two moms wrote the musical together so their children would have something to do in the summer. Their “little show” became a popular community tradition and was performed annually at the Brighton Canyon amphitheater for over 15 years.
Music was Paula’s one great passion. She was a gifted pianist who could play anything by ear. Paula had a remarkable 55 year career as a piano teacher. She shared her love of music in fun and creative ways, but what she valued most was the interpersonal relationships she cultivated with each student. She cherished seeing them grow and progress under her tutelage. Paula will be remembered as a beloved teacher, friend and mentor who nurtured and inspired many.
She was a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served faithfully in her church callings. Her strong testimony and passion for the Gospel made her an exceptional teacher. She was known for her creative trainings, practical jokes at girls’ camp, and witty roadshows. Of course, her favorite assignments involved music. She enjoyed not only sharing her love of the hymns, but also the stories which accompanied the author and composer behind the music. Through her callings, she gave people an opportunity to share their talents. Her rousing “Stars and Stripes Forever” four-piano performance at the annual 4th of July Breakfast began a lasting tradition for more than 30 years in the Wasatch 5th Ward.
Paula always exhibited great faith. She had a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ and she never shied from sharing it with others. She loved and trusted her Heavenly Father, always attributing His divine hand in her life and counting every blessing with gratitude and humility. She faced many challenges, but she found peace and comfort through prayer, fasting and scripture study. We have been greatly blessed by her exemplary life and Christlike example.
Our mother will be lovingly remembered for many things, but what she’d never want us to forget is that “all the best things in life start with the letter ‘F’ -- Faith, Father in Heaven, Family, and Food.” We love you more, more, more, more, more.
Paula was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Jim, her eldest son Jeff, and her brother-in-law Floyd Sabin. She is survived by her sister Judy Sabin; her children David, Greg (Rebeca), Brad, Judy Hut (John), Jimmy (Libby), and Jennie Burt (Steve); her twenty-three grandchildren, and her sixteen great grandchildren.
Our family would like to thank Paula’s “angels” at The Wentworth at Coventry and Tender Care Hospice for their wonderful care.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Paula’s memorial will be a private family viewing at Cannon Mortuary on May 13, 2020. A private graveside service will be held the same day at Memorial Mountain View Cemetery in Cottonwood Heights. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date when family and friends can gather together to honor her memory.
We ask friends and family to click the link below to share a short audio recorded story or memory of Paula.
Recording of Services