Obituary: Richard V. Carlson March 16, 2023

RICHARD V. CARLSON March 16, 2023

Richard V. Carlson passed away on March 16, 2023, from complications from a long battle with Parkinson’s. Dick was born in Kenosha, WI to Vernal and Kathryn.

Dick was a younger brother to Susan and an older brother to Mary. He had fond memories of growing up helping out on his grandparent’s farm. The family moved to Edina, MN and Dick graduated from Edina HS in 1962. He attended Valparaiso for undergraduate work and then went on to study physics at the Illinois Institute of Technology and then earned his PhD in Physics from the University of Minnesota in 1975.  Through high school and college, Dick was a competitive swimmer specializing in the butterfly and worked as a lifeguard at the Edina pool.

Dick met the love of his life, Susan, on a ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They were married on May 22, 1971. Dick and Sue then moved from Minnesota to Los Alamos, New Mexico where Dick began an impressive career at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dick took his government clearance seriously and never revealed secrets about his work over the 30+ years he worked at the lab. He had many interesting roles and duties including international work with Japanese scientists and various titles including “Chief Tritium Physicist.”

Dick was a great dad to is son and daughter, Andrew and Leslie. He was always up for an adventure and enjoyed skiing, biking, whitewater rafting, camping, hiking, woodworking, cooking, collecting classical music, growing award-winning garlic, and eating spicy NM chile! His deep Minnesotan roots remained strong with regular road-trips driving the 23 hours from Los Alamos to Minneapolis.

When Dick and Sue retired, they moved back to Minnesota to be closer to family. They enjoyed attending MN orchestra concerts, church, cheering-on their kids, and vacationing abroad. When Sue was diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer, Dick stepped up and provided amazing and compassionate care, both to Susan and to her mother Marian. Losing his love, Sue, in 2010 was very difficult and his life was never the same. 

Dick became a grampa and loved spending time with his 6 grandchildren. He enjoyed reading, listening to classical music, eating out, photography, attending church, gardening, and shopping on Amazon. He was a determined, generous, witty individual, and he will be deeply missed.

He is preceded in death by his wife of 39 years, Susan Carlson, parents Vernal and Kathryn, and sister Susan.

His memory remains alive through his daughter Leslie (J.), son Andrew (Lissa), grandkids Jack, Rosie, Leo, Layla, Addie, and Ivy Sue, sister Mary, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

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