Donna Virginia Carlson, 89, went to her home in heaven on January 20,
2011. She was a resident of GracePointe Commons, Cambridge. Born Donna Virginia Deaver, on Jan. 1, 1922 in Sabetha, Kan., she grew
up on a beautiful farm. Her father was a certified livestock and hybrid
seed farmer and a Kansas State Legislator. Her mother was active in
community, civic, church and national farming organizations.
Donna graduated from Ottawa University in Kansas in 1944 with a degree in education. On her first day at Ottawa she met classmate Stanley Carlson. They dated throughout their college years, and married Jan. 1, 1946, while Stan was on leave from his Navy commission. Donna taught high school English in Belleville Kan., and then in Chicago Heights, Ill., where they lived for a short time.
In 1947 Stan entered the University of Minnesota to study mortuary science. Daughter Linda was born in 1948 in Saint Paul, and they moved to Alexandria, Minn. shortly thereafter, where Stan worked at the Anderson Funeral Home. In 1951 they moved to Stan’s hometown of Cambridge, where Stan and his brother Gordon started the Carlson Funeral Home together. The Carlson family moved to the apartment above the funeral home for several years, and when their children were young they moved to their family home in Cambridge.
In early years, Donna often participated in the details of the funeral home business. She was a frequent substitute high school teacher in the Cambridge schools, tutored many CHS foreign exchange students, and was a Mary Kay cosmetic distributor. The family spent many days and entertained countless friends at their log cabin on Spectacle Lake. Stan and Donna lived there for most of their retirement years starting in 1985. After Stan’s death in 1999, she spent her later years living in the GracePointe retirement community.
Donna lived a life of gracious hospitality, loving nothing more than knowing friends or family would be arriving for a visit. Her busy life revolved around family, the community, and involvement at First Baptist Church as a member of the choir for many years. Donna gave countless volunteer hours to serving in the church and the residents of Grandview Christian Home through the Grandview Auxiliary. She was on the committee that established the Concert Series in Cambridge, delivered Meals on Wheels, and was active in leadership in the Christian Womens Club.
She enjoyed Bible studies, and joined the Swedish Club. She made sure the Carlson home always had room for guests—whether just for coffee, for dinner, or even for a year or two, as Stan and Donna welcomed several foster children into their home over the years. Donna and Stan enjoyed traveling with friends, often taking car trips around the country. Donna especially enjoyed meeting her cousins in England and exploring her English heritage. Donna was also well-known for making anything grow and bloom. Her vegetable and flower gardens were her pride and joy.
Donna is survived by her sons Philip (Cecilia) Carlson of Middleton, Wis.; Mark (Melinda) Carlson of Vienna, Va.; son-in-law James (Barbara) Lindberg of Gurnee, Ill.; nine grandchildren; four great grandchildren; sister Laberta Paslay of Topeka, Kan., and sister-in-law Eleanor Carlson of Kelseyville, Calif. She is also survived by honorary family-member, Christina Falt of Stockholm, Sweden, who was a student in their home in 1962, and was like a daughter during many visits over the years following.
Donna was preceded in death by her husband Stanley (1999); daughter Linda (1994), and son Raymond (2008).
Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at First Baptist Church in Cambridge with Rev. Bob Jonsson officiating. Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the church. Bill MacKinney, accompanied by Claudia Hardy, will provide the special music. Pallbearers will be Katie and Jason Lind, Kirsten Lindberg, Linnea and Ben Stevens, Ian, Hannah, Sarah, Jeffrey, and Anna Carlson. Interment will be in the Cambridge Union Cemetery. Memorials preferred to the First Baptist Church. Arrangements are with the Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Cambridge.