Richard Matt Carlson, 73, of Grand Forks, ND, died on Dec. 9, 2019 with his family embracing him after a 17-year struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Richard was born on August 30, 1946 in Stockton, CA to parents Evelyn & Sigfrid Carlson. As a toddler, he and his mother moved back to Grand Forks where he was raised by his mom & family (‘Matt’ was his mother’s maiden name -- their family business was Matt's Tavern in GF). Richard had 2 siblings from Evelyn’s marriage to Earl Schneider: Greg (Kathy) Schneider, and Pam Schneider West (Bill). From Sig’s marriage to Laura, Richard’s siblings were Bret Carlson and Kay Carlson Rubio.
Preceding Richard in death are Evelyn and stepfather Whitey Sollom (Whitey’s children are Dan [Denese], Kirby, and MariAnn Sollom), Sig and Laura Carlson, brother Bret, sister Pamella, in-laws Norman & Alice Carlson, and numerous relatives.
Richard married Beth Carlson Bina at St Mark’s Lutheran Church on Sept 28th, 1990, a few years after they met at Parents Without Partners. Devoted to one another, they’ve celebrated 29 anniversaries with their children as their treasures in life: Bob (Tonelle) and Jodi-Michaelle of Bemidji, MN; Danial (Tracy) Carlson of New Orleans, LA; Lucas Bina (Amber Flath) of Grand Forks, ND and Brooke Bina (Brian Soderholm) of Portland, OR. Grandchildren Kylie, Makenna, Isabel & Bowie enriched his life.
He was a proud grandpa & uncle who often shared wisdom (and Dilly bars).
Richard loved his role as a family man; he was loved by many. He especially liked his wife’s maiden name (Carlson). He enjoyed his role as a son-in-law to Beth’s folks, Norman & Alice Carlson, and siblings Kaye Carlson (Gary Dub), Russ & Candy Carlson, Noreen & Jeff Sievertson, and extended families, who were an active part of his life. Richard enjoyed the authentic pleasures in life that included time with his family, appreciating nature (he had favorite trees everywhere and pointed out glorious sunsets often). He loved drives in the country or, in recent years, bird-watching from the patio. Richard was an observer and collected memories from both family & community outings.
As a conversationalist, he listened well and shared refreshing insights. Often, he had a glint in his eye ready with a quip. He had many friends & classmates from St. Michael’s, Larimore, & GF Central High (’64). After graduation, he enlisted in the Navy and served our country with pride for 3 ½ years during the Vietnam War. As a retiree, he re-connected with Navy comrades via phone and their road trips to ND to see him. He enjoyed finding a bargain car to use as long as it lasted and used a fleet of them keeping up with his kids in Bemidji where they were living with their mother Jeanne Engen Duranske (George). He’d often bring Bob, Jodi & Dan home for a visit or spend as much time as they could spare and head back again; he missed those trips after they grew up and after driving became unmanageable. With the challenges of ill health, he still kept track of everyone with the use of speed dial on his ‘radio’ (cell phone) & had frequent visitors. Richard was multi-talented & worked at a variety of jobs throughout his life to provide for his family. He finished top in his class at Northland & traveled to 48 states as a long-haul trucker for 3 years. After marrying Beth in 1990, he took a home-based job at UND Plant Services where he was a maintenance mechanic on campus until his medical retirement.
Richard was spiritual throughout his life. As a child he was raised in the Catholic faith, then converted to Lutheranism when he married Beth. Currently he’s been a (homebound) member of Sharon Lutheran where pastors (and recently Hospice of the Red River Valley) have provided home visits. Richard became a fan of the Lankin community and was a proud member of the Legion Post #157, after being recruited by father-in-law Norman, and enjoyed Beth’s home church, Hoff Lutheran. In the 90’s, Richard joined Beth’s family at New Life Lutheran, which later merged with St. Mark’s (Pastor Phil Blom officiated at their wedding), where he volunteered as a reader and church council member. At Sharon Lutheran, he was a pal to a New American gentleman, showing him around the area. Although reliant on caregivers for the past several years, he had a positive outlook; he optimistically hoped for a better tomorrow. As Heaven welcomes him back, blessed be the memory of dear Richard.
Visitation is at Sharon Lutheran Church in Grand Forks on Friday, Dec. 13th from 5-7 pm with prayer service at 7 pm. Funeral services will be at Sharon Lutheran on Saturday, Dec. 14th at 11 am with visitation one hour prior. Interment with military rites provided by Bosh-Ryba Post 157 of the Lankin, ND, American Legion and the U. S. Navy Honors Team, will be 2:30 pm at Hoff Lutheran Church Cemetery, rural Adams, ND.
Memorial suggestions: Lankin Legion, Hoff Lutheran Church cemetery fund, Sharon Lutheran church, or plant and nurture a tree in his honor.