Cover photo for Ralph Wenzel Carlson's Obituary
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1935 Ralph 2018

Ralph Wenzel Carlson

December 5, 1935 — August 11, 2018

Ralph Carlson of North Branch passed away Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Ecumen of North Branch at the age of 82.

Ralph Wenzel Carlson was born December 5, 1935 to Fred and Esther (Peterson) Carlson in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ralph grew up at 5308 Elliot Avenue South in Minneapolis in a home that was built by his father, Fred. Ralph was an active kid who loved his summer visits to the farm in Harris while growing up in Minneapolis. He worked a variety of after school and weekend jobs in the neighborhood and graduated from Minnehaha Academy in 1954. In 1956, he joined the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. In 1958, he married his lovely wife Marie, who was his best friend, soulmate and confidante for 56 years until her passing in 2014.

Ralph was a true railroad man, having worked for Great Northern and Burlington Northern railroads for a combined 43 years. His work ethic was impressive. During his time at the railroad he also delivered newspapers for many years in the Twin City suburbs, and continued after moving to the farm in Harris to raise sheep for wool and meat for almost 30 years. He loved to take the kids for dip in Fish Lake on a hot evening after haying.

Ralph was an active volunteer in his community for his entire life. He loved to drive and knew all the back ways around the cities. This skill came in handy during his retirement as he drove for 20 years as volunteer for Chisago County. He was a past commander for the Harris American Legion. Ralph often had a leadership role in the groups he joined and this was true for his 40 years as a member of the John Birch Society. He was an active member of the choir at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in St. Paul. Reading and knowing the bible were an important part of his life, which was shared by Marie.  He always enjoyed being physically active; as a young man he was a competitive weight lifter and in the years since moving to North Branch he has cultivated many friends at Anytime Fitness gym.

Ralph is survived by his children Ralph G. (Denise) Carlson of North Branch, Ruth (Bill) Mayville of Milton, VT, Rachel (Russ) Kohn of Brainerd; 9 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law Dorothy (Jim) Roncone of AZ, Kathy (Rocky) Coval of Bloomington, Louise Theroux, Janice (Paul) Swanson all of Golden Valley, Jeanne Berry of MI; brother-in-law Dan Suther of CA.

He is preceded in death by his parents Fred and Esther Carlson; wife Marie Carlson; sister Bonnie (Fred) Abrahamson; brother Fred Carlson.

Father Jonathan Proctor will celebrate services for Ralph: 10 AM; Thursday, August 16, 2018 at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in St. Paul with a lunch to follow. Ralph will be interred in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in North Branch at 2 PM with Military Honors provided by the Minnesota National Guard and the Harris American Legion. A time of visitation and reviewal is planned from 4-7 PM Wednesday (8/15) with Memorial Prayers at 7 PM at the Olson Funeral Chapel in Rush City.  An additional time for visitation will take place one hour prior to the funeral at the church on Thursday.

Memorials may be directed to Harris American Legion and Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the: Funeral and Cremation Service of Rush City~Olson Chapel.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ralph Wenzel Carlson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Prayer Service

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Starts at 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church

956 Forest St N, Saint Paul, MN 55106

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