Raymond “Ray” Peter Carlson, 95, of Bemidji, MN died August 30th, 2019 at Neilson Place, Bemidji.
A celebration of Ray’s life will be held at New Salem Church in Turtle River on Saturday, September 21st, at 11:00 am with Rev. Terry Hagensen officiating. There will be a visitation an hour prior to the service and lunch will be served afterward, both at New Salem Church. Following the ceremony there will be an informal gathering at the Old Salem Hall in Turtle River. Everyone is welcome. The Cease Family Funeral Home in Bemidji assisted the family.
Ray was born on May 21st,1924, the son of a Swedish immigrant and his wife, Ernest and Ellen (Dahlgren) Carlson. He was born in their log home in the community of Wildwood, near Northome, MN, a few hours after his twin sister. They actually had different birthdays, due to the passing of midnight before he was born. Ray attended Northome High School, graduating as class valedictorian in 1942. Upon graduation he was admitted to the University of Minnesota and attended one year while waiting induction in the Navy in an officer training program. He was assigned to a program at Purdue University and subsequently completed his training and received his commission at Columbia University. He was assigned to an amphibious ship, an LSM, and sent to the Pacific Theater. At the completion of WW II, and at the age of 21, he was in command of that ship as it returned to the United States.
Following the war, and prior to completing a bachelor’s degree, he accepted an offer to teach science for a half year back in his hometown of Northome. There he met his future wife, Margaret Lindseth, also teaching at the high school there. They were married in 1950. After his time in Northome, Ray returned to the University of Minnesota to complete his bachelors and masters degrees in psychology. During this time his first son, David, was born. He then accepted a teaching position in psychology at Bemidji State College. As he was completing his doctors degree, and teaching at BSC, his second son, Steven, was born.
Ray continued what would become his lifelong career at Bemidji State University. Over the span of thirty two years he held a variety of positions, including a professorship in psychology, Dean of Students, Vice President of Student Affairs, and Vice President for Research and Development. Following his retirement in 1984, he returned as a Professor Emeritus to teach graduate classes.
Ray was a kind man, and always inquisitive. He treated all he met with dignity and respect. His life exemplified a commitment to family and public service, and an unceasing quest to learn. He was an avid reader and his curiosity knew no bounds. He dedicated himself to countless local, regional, and statewide outreach programs, serving on many boards and committees. He was at various times a member of the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, and a life long member of Salem Lutheran Church in Turtle River. He and Margaret worked together on many projects. They worked to set up the first recycling program in Bemidji, and took in a refugee from South African apartheid in the 1980’s, among their many collaborative efforts. He loved to work in the garden, and was never happier than when he was in a boat with a line in the water.
Ray is survived by his wife, Margaret; his sister Elaine (Bob) Love; his sons David (Margaret) Carlson and Steven (Sue) Carlson; grandchildren Eric Carlson, Anna (Joe Furuseth) Carlson, Karina (Ben Thompson) Carlson and Brian Carlson; and great grandchildren Iris and Violet Furuseth.
He was preceded in death by his parents Ernest and Ellen Carlson, as well as his sisters Virginia, Bernice, Erma and Lorraine.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Raymond and Margaret Carlson Public Service Scholarship Fund at Bemidji State University. Condolences may be left at ceasefuneralhome.com.