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CARLSON, Dr. Edward W. Co-Founder of Two Colleges. 94, passed away on May 12, 2013, in Ocala, Florida. Dr. Carlson was a senior executive in the field of higher education for over 60 years; and he fulfilled numerous key leadership roles in a family that pioneered the establishment and development of small colleges in the United States. During his youth, his family moved frequently as his father, Dr. William F. Carlson, was president of four different colleges. In 1938, along with his parents and his brothers, Paul and Roy, the Carlson family purchased the Robert Gould Shaw Estate in Newton Centre, MA, and also acquired the charter of the defunct Mount Ida School for Girls. In the fall of 1939, they established and admitted the first students of Mount Ida Junior College, which today is Mount Ida College. Dr. Edward W. Carlson dedicated his entire career to the development, growth, success, and prosperity of Mount Ida College. He often talked about what a unique experience it had been to work for three different Carlson relatives who served as President of Mount Ida over a span of 60 years: his father, William F. Carlson, 1939-1960; his brother, F. Roy Carlson, 1960-1976; and his son, Bryan E. Carlson, 1976-1999. In recognition of his father's contributions, Dr. Bryan E. Carlson, currently the President of Collegiate Enterprise Solutions, LLC, and the Registry for College and University Presidents, said that "my father was really the glue that made it possible for the entire family and for Mount Ida College to proper; which has resulted in the transformation of a fledgling finishing school for girls into a flourishing, comprehensive, coeducational baccalaureate degree institution." Dr. Edward W. Carlson's 60-year tenure at Mount Ida was interrupted twice. During World War II, he trained as a pilot in Tanner, Alabama, where he met his first wife, Mary Miller Carlson, who passed away in 1978. The second interruption was for about 18 months in 1968-1969, when Dr. Carlson split his time between Mount Ida and St Augustine, Florida, where the Carlson family established Flagler College. Flagler College was originally chartered as "Mount Ida College" at a time when the Newton-based institution was still officially known as "Mount Ida Junior College." In its early years, Flagler operated as Mount Ida's sister institution, which made it possible for students to progress sequentially through an associate degree program and then into a baccalaureate degree program. Dr. Carlson continued to serve as a senior executive at Mount Ida College until his retirement in 1999. Throughout his 60 years of service and dedication to Mount Ida, his commitment to the success of the institution had no boundaries. While he served continuously in an executive capacity, he was always willing to roll up his sleeves especially in the early years to paint buildings, to mow the lawns, or to move new furniture into the dormitories. In his later years, he was affectionately known as "Dr. Ed" as he took great joy circulating around the campus and connecting with all echelons of the Mount Ida community, as he considered everyone to part of the Mount Ida family. In all of his pursuits, Dr. Edward Carlson was a truly unique and "giving" person. This attribute was modeled and instilled by his parents, William and Olga Carlson, the principal Founders of Mount Ida, who were both the progeny of Swedish immigrant families. Through hard work and perseverance William received scholarship support from Oliver Ames and graduated from Harvard College in 1915, which became his entre into a long and successful career as a college president. Throughout their lifetimes, William and Olga gave away almost everything they received to others-family, friends, employees, and charities; and Dr. Edward Carlson carried this tradition forward throughout his lifetime. In 1979, Dr. Carlson married Helen Hannah who was from Athens, Alabama. They had 22 years happy years together until Helen passed away in 2001. In 2002, Dr. Carlson married Marianne Richard. In recent years, he and Marianne had enjoyed a vigorous and active life together. Their primary residence has been in Ocala Florida, and they have vacationed every summer for extended periods in Michigan and in Maine, and have also traveled internationally. Dr. Carlson had been in good health up until the last month of his life. He is survived by his spouse, Marianne; his son, Bryan; his daughter, Ingrid; his daughter-in-law, Anne; three grandchildren, Jennifer, Brad, and Doug; seven great grandchildren; step-sons, Robert and James Hannah; step-sons Chris, Craig, and Curtis Richard; and step-daughter, Carol Haavisto. The Funeral Services for Mr. Edward Carlson will be Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2 P.M. at McConnell Memorial Chapel. Visitation will be from 12:30-1:45. Burial will be in Athens City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Ocala Hospice Marion 3231 South West 34th Ave Ocala, Florida 34474; and 1st Congregational Church and United Church of Christ 7171 South West St Road 200 Ocala, Florida 34476.
Published in The Boston Globe on May 17, 2013
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