Cover photo for Dr. David C. Cartwright's Obituary
Dr. David C. Cartwright Profile Photo
1937 David 2022

Dr. David C. Cartwright

December 2, 1937 — November 24, 2022

Rush City

David Cartwright, age 84, of Rush City passed away on Thursday, November 24, 2022 at Northern Pines in Pine City with his loving wife, Carole, by his side.

David Chapman Cartwright was born December 2, 1937 to Arvid and Elizabeth (Swain) Cartwright in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

David graduated from Marshall High School in Minneapolis in 1955 and enlisted in the Navy the same year. He served on two aircraft carriers as a communication technician and was honorably discharged in 1958. That same year, David enrolled at Hamline University and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1962 with a BS degree in Chemistry and Physics. While at Hamline, David played intercollegiate baseball and basketball. He was selected for the Hamline University Athletic Hall of Fame for contributions to athletics and community in 1960.

On July 10, 1965, David and Carole were married in St. Paul. David continued his science education at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. He received his MS degree in 1963 in Applied Mechanics and a PhD in Chemical Physics and Physics in 1967.

Upon graduation, David and Carole moved to Munich, Germany so David could partake in a yearlong NATO postdoc fellowship at the Max-Planck Institut Fur Physik und Astrophysik. Returning to the USA, David taught physics at the University of Colorado and then was employed at the Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles before he accepted a research scientist position at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in Los Alamos, NM. He worked as a scientist and project manager at LANL, publishing over 100 peer reviewed scientific papers until his retirement in 2000. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1988.

Over the years in Los Alamos and while helping to raise a family, David volunteered for many organizations including coaching and refereeing youth baseball, basketball and soccer. After retiring, David and Carole chose to return to Minnesota to take up a new hobby as tree farmers together on a Century Farm property passed down within Carole’s family. Together they planted 26,000 hardwood and conifer trees on what had been a lakeside dairy farm in south central Minnesota. In 2007, they received Chisago County’s Conservation for Minnesota Soil and Water award. The next year, they were recognized as the Tree Farmer of the Year for the Southern Region of Minnesota from the Minnesota Tree Farm Committee. To complement his tree farming hobby, David consistently worked to benefit his community, including time serving as president of the Rush Lake Improvement Association.

David’s principles in life were hard work, integrity, commitment to excellence, kindness and dedication to his family. He was a devoted, loving husband, father and grandfather known as “Papa” by his grandchildren and as a reliable friend to many.  

David is survived by his wife of 57 years, Carole Cartwright; son Scott (Victoria); daughter Alison Cartwright Reid (Richard); grandchildren Natalie and Stephanie Cartwright and Bryson and Addison Reid; brother Peter Cartwright; sister Catherine Harrison; brother-in-law James Roth (Rita); and many other family members.

A gathering of family and friends for a Celebration of David’s Life will be at 2 PM; Saturday, February 25, 2023 at the Olson Funeral Chapel in Rush City with military honors at 3:30 PM.

His family has a heartfelt appreciation for the wonderful loving care David received while at Northern Pines as well as the careful attention given by the Accent Fairview Hospice caregivers.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to: Funeral and Cremation Service of Rush City~Olson Chapel

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. David C. Cartwright, please visit our flower store.


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