There are people in this world who make it their personal mission in life to bring light and joy to everyone they meet. That was Paula. Everywhere she went she wore her magnetic smile and actively looked for ways to brighten someone’s day. Whether it was the cashier at the grocery store or a stranger standing in a line, Paula would not remain in silence. She would flash her brilliant smile while her vibrant blue eyes would melt even the grumpiest of strangers into a fluid conversation about anything and everything. Truly, nothing was off limits! That type of charisma and genuine interest in the personal lives of all who met Paula, made her a friend to all. Oh, and do not even think about shaking her hand. If you did you would receive the laughing response of, “I am a hugger!”, followed by the Absolute. All-time. Best Bear Hug. Ever. Period.
Paula’s charisma was a part of her soul the moment she was born. Paula was born to Jerold Nelson Cole and Patricia Jerre (O’Brien) Cole on December 4th, 1967 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a young girl her teachers from Elementary and through to High School would say that she was bright, bubbly, and VERY fond of talking. Paula was a proud Viking at Valley High School and was actively involved in school activities and sports. Her athletic ability and competitive spirit were seen on the women’s soccer, softball, and basketball teams. Whew, she was busy!
That competitive drive stayed with Paula and was one of many reasons why her Eternal companion, Shawn Tyler Mortensen, fell for her at a Regional Young Single Adult Conference held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Little did Shawn know that Paula’s competitive nature would result in an all-night attempt to beat his high score on Solitaire early in their marriage. Yep, that really happened. Paula and Shawn were sealed for time and all eternity in the Logan, Utah Temple. Because of Shawn and Paula’s union they welcomed eight glorious children. Paula devoted her life to the raising of her children. She volunteered answering phones at her children’s schools, which would inevitably result in sneaking her kids off campus for Starbucks or Keva Juice. It was moments like these that made Paula’s children feel important and special.
Paula was so proud of her children and sacrificed much to help each of her children achieve their academic, athletic, and personal dreams. She never missed a dance recital, sporting event, chaperoning Prom, concert, public speaking, or church activity because she was her kids #1 fan. If she needed to drop everything and be there to lift one of her kids during a tough time, she was there. Whether it was being in Utah for a fitness exam, traveling for an important volleyball game, or just showing up because she felt like she needed to, she was always there.
Paula had a fierce testimony of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because of that testimony she approached every trial in her life with a desire for the Lord’s will to prevail. When she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in July of 2019 her immediate reaction was to take the fight head on with unwavering faith and a sense of joy knowing that her Heavenly Father would be by her side. Through every treatment she would make new friends and of course become so invested in their treatments that she would tend to forget that she too was undergoing serious chemotherapy. The nurses would have to remind Paula to sit still as the different cocktails of drugs would need to be administered and multiple times, they could not find Paula as she would have moved to make a new friend.
This spontaneous attitude was the spark that made knowing Paula so adventurous. Many a late night or early morning was spent by Paula teaching her children the ways of becoming an expert house TPer. If music were playing everyone could count on Paula to get the dance party started. Summertime water fights would erupt at church activities and joyful weekends were spent with cups, water, and kitty pools all because Paula loved making sure everyone had a good time. She had a happy heart and wore it proudly on her sleeve for all to see and feel.
Paula loved unconditionally. She was loyal to a fault and would fight alongside anyone who needed additional strength to persevere through their own trials. Tears were never to be shed on her account unless they were happy tears. Even now, as she rejoices with the angels on high, she would want all of those she loved on earth to unify in making the world a brighter, happier place for all who inhabit it.
Paula rejoined her Heavenly Father on March 27, 2021. She is preceded in death by her earthly parents Jerold Nelson Cole and Patricia Jerre (O’Brien) Cole, as well as her eldest brother Joseph Brian Cole. She is survived by brother David Cole (spouse Roberta), sister Lauri Drean (spouse Robert), her eternal companion Shawn Tyler Mortensen, daughter Britta, son Justin, daughter Jenessa (spouse Riley), daughter Caitlin (spouse Austin), daughter Brie, son Cole, son Parker, daughter Shayne, and five incredible grandsons Cal, Ander, Beau, Beckett, and Jack.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Paula Joanna (Cole) Mortensen, please visit our floral store.