Tribute to Milton C.R. Carlson

October 27, 1900 to August 27, 1999

by Phil Johnson

Even Milton Carlson could not go on forever. No one saw Milt die so maybe, as son Bruce suggested, he was taken up by a chariot of fire. That is how he wanted to go. Milt Carlson was proud to be a Christian business-man. From 1918 to 1960, he worked for the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway. As General Freight and Passenger Agent, he arranged for a number of trips to Chicago for the Minneapolis Church League champions to take on the Chicago champs. When he retired, he started his own company, the Hopkins Freight Association, which he ran until 1984.

Milt Carlson

I knew Milt as my friend’s dad. He was very generous to us as a young couple when we moved to South Minneapolis in 1965. One day, out of the blue, Mr. Carlson came by with a four-drawer file cabinet for us. Milt and his wife Margaret frequently invited Sandy and me to share meals with them. You could always count on Milt’s good will, along with a definite view of the wise and the right. He was a congregational leader at Bethlehem Covenant Church for years and he often took an independent position. He opposed calling the first Intern Pastor, but when the Congregation voted overwhelmingly to issue the call, he promptly offered free use of a house he owned for the Intern’s residence.

Milt lived so long that few now living have a sense of the contri-butions of his whole life. He was very active in young-people organizations and Christian Education work in the early part of the century, and he corresponded with Olga Lindborg, the pioneering Director of Christian Education, in the late ’20s. He was a friend of T.W. Anderson, President of the Covenant in the ’40s.

In one of the tributes received by the family, Cala Soden, an employee of Danebo Home where Milt stayed his last years, wrote:

Everyday I saw Milton at Danebo or walking to his house and everyday he made me smile. Even today when I think of Milton, his joy for life makes my day better. Milton added a special touch to everyone’s life.
I loved it when Milton finished eating his meal. He would come over to the employees table and sit down and talk to me.
In Milton’s memory I would like to plant a tree along with Milton’s name carved into a rock at Danebo or Minnehaha, preferably by the gate he went through to go to his house. I was wondering if Milton had a favorite tree, if he didn’t I was thinking of planting an evergreen, because they stay green (happy) all year around. Just like Milton.

Few people remain so continuously happy and vibrant throughout their lives as Milt did. Even though he had a difficult time speaking after his stroke at the age of 97, he worked at it cheerfully and he continued to begin each day with his motto: "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it."

Blessings on his family, and may his soul rest in peace.

Phil Johnson is Editor Emeritus of Pietisten.

See all articles by Phil Johnson