Robert Mortensen Karstensen

August 10, 1925September 23, 2020

Robert (Bob) Mortensen Karstensen Sr. passed away on Sept. 23 2020. He was born Robert Elwin Mortensen on August 10th 1925 to Carl Otto and Maren Kristine (Ditlefsen) Mortensen in Warren Minnesota. He was the youngest of 10 children in the family. At the age of 3 months his mother Maren Kristine died following a routine surgery and at the age of 3 years old his father Carl Otto died of pleurisy. It was at this time that his mother’s sister, Anna (Ditlefsen) and husband Rasmus Karstensen adopted and raised him. At the age of 17 he joined the Army Air Corps to fight in WWII. He was stationed in Italy with the 451st Bomb Group where he completed his 32 combat missions as a nose gunner in a B-24 Bomber. During that time he was awarded the purple heart. In 1978 he and 3 former members of the 451st bomb group got together and began their next mission, to reunite as many 451st members as they could find and hold a reunion. Bob dedicated close to the next 30 years of his life in finding members and organizing reunions. He proudly held the position of president of the group, until passing the torch on. After the war he returned to Marengo Il. where he began employment as a house painter and eventually starting his own painting business, which he continued for 45 years. In 1954 he married Patricia Atherton and they had 2 children, Ann and Robert jr. Bob loved to hunt and fish with his family, children and friends. Much of that time was spent reminiscing and telling stories about his growing up during the depression and about his brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. He was so proud of all of them. (Both of Bob’s maternal and adopted parents were immigrants from Denmark and he was very proud of his heritage and displayed that to his children). Bob was survived by his children Ann Karstensen (partner Tony Schritz) and Robert M. Karstensen Jr (wife Lori (Hensel)), grandchildren Adam, Alex and Nathan Karstensen along with many loving nieces and nephews. Bob was preceded in death by his birth parents Carl Otto and Maren Kristine Mortensen, his adoptive parents Rasmus and Anna Karstensen, and his siblings Agnes, Carl, Allan, Victor. Florence, Arlene, Gladys, Dorothy and Mary Marcine. Bob lived a full life and as we mourn his passing we rejoice knowing that for the first time in 95 years the Mortensen & Karstensen families are together again-Bob’s gone home. A small family graveside service will be held at a later date.


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Robert Mortensen Karstensen

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Jim Doran

September 24, 2020

My condolences to the Mortensen and Karstensen families on your loss of Bob Mortensen Karstensen. Bob was a huge help to me, 12 years ago, while I was trying to research information on my Uncle, Robert J. Doran, a B-24 Navigator with Bob's 451st Bomb Group during WWII. My uncle didn't talk about his experiences, but with Bob's help, I was able to make some commemorative booklets for his 3 brothers (my uncles.) I would have love to have talked to him about his experiences.

Jim Doran, Richmond, Va.

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