In Memory

John Carlson

John Carlson

From Linda Buckley Kobe

I heard from my sister who knew John and his wife Caron in Iowa, where John had been a pediatrician, that John passed away in October from cancer. I also knew him since grade school at Marlborough as well as Southeast. It’s a small world.



Fjelstul Funeral Home - Decorah Obituary

John S. Carlson,  fondly referred to as “Papa” by his grandchildren, 77, of Decorah, peacefully entered the Kingdom of Heaven surrounded by his family on October 7th, 2019 at Aase Haugen Home in Decorah- just two short months after being diagnosed with and courageously battling Glioblastoma (cancerous brain tumor).   

Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at Decorah Lutheran Church with Rev. Allen Vik and Rev. James Glesne officiating. Burial will be in Phelps Cemetery in Decorah.   

Visitation will be from 4:00-7:00 P.M. Monday, October 14 at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah and on Tuesday beginning at 10:00 A.M., one hour before the service, at the church.

John was born on December 19th, 1941 to Emanuel Albert “Swede” and Edith (Rosser) Carlson in Kansas City, MO. He graduated from Southeast High School and attended the University of Chicago for undergrad, graduate and medical school. He was in the US Army and entered as a major. He was stationed at Ft Riley, KS where he served as an army doctor.

John married Caron Marie Casper daughter of Ralph and Catherine Casper of Kansas City, MO on July 10th, 1976.  John and Caron grew up in the same church, South Broadland Presbyterian, in Kansas City. Their parents were also close friends.

Following his service with the Army, John returned to Kansas City where he joined a medical practice and served as a pediatrician- an occupation he enjoyed for his entire professional life. He worked not only in Kansas City, but Fort Dodge, IA and Dubuque, IA where he retired from practice on Leap Year Day 2008.

After retirement, John and Caron moved to Decorah.  He was very active in his church, Decorah Lutheran. He served in many church offices, led bible studies, participated in Sunday School, and lived his entire life as a man of God. He was a member of the Decorah Rotary Club, the Decorah Torske Klubben, the 100+ Men Who Care- Driftless Chapter, and a founding member of the Rubaiyat Wine Club.

The main thing John wanted everyone to know was how much he loved his family. He was involved with his children and grandchildren’s school and extracurricular activities. His family was the most important thing in his life.

John’s hobbies also included reading- he enjoyed reading about science, current events, but his main interest was Scripture. He loved to read the Bible. He also enjoyed spending time at Rubaiyat, whether it be enjoying a new food or wine or just visiting with friends. He enjoyed traveling- visiting 48 of the 50 states, often planning family vacations as a young man. He traveled to Israel in the 1970’s taking his sister Nancy along, a memorable trip for them both. This summer, shortly before being diagnosed with his illness, the entire family enjoyed a vacation to Northern Michigan and are very thankful for all the memories that they shared during this trip.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Emanuel Albert Carlson on February 23, 1986 and Edith (Rosser) Carlson on March 31, 2001.

He is survived by his wife Caron; his daughter Kim (Andy) Bonnet, Isaiah and McCoy of Decorah; his son Steve (Jessica) Carlson, Kate and Micah of Sault Ste. Marie, MI; and his sister Nancy Carlson of North Ft Myers, FL.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to Decorah Lutheran Church, 309 Winnebago St., Decorah, IA 52101 or the Decorah Rotary Club, P.O.Box 442, Decorah, IA 52101.

John’s family would like to extend a special thanks to Winneshiek Medical Center Hospice, Aase Haugen, and those who have expressed kindness during this difficult time.