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Herb and Lorrain Carlson

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    - Don Carlson
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Herb and Lorrain Carlson
1919 - 2013
They had been married for 75 years when Lorrain got pneumonia and died in May 2011 at the age of 92. The next morning Herb suffered a heart attack from which he never fully recovered.
For almost two years, Herb, the 'stoic Swede' carried on without Lorrain. Herb died at home in his sleep and joined Lorrain in Heaven April 18, 2013. Herb was 94. They both led God-fearing and productive lives. Both were born in Milwaukee and grew up during the Depression. Herb was the youngest of 10 in his family. His parents were just 'off the boat', and he 'ate a lot of soup' growing up. Herb and Lorrain were high-school sweethearts: Herb the quarterback of the football team and Lorrain, the 'cutest girl in school'. They married right after graduation. Herb received a football scholarship to the University of Idaho and, having no money, rode the freight train to Moscow. He hopped the same freight back to Milwaukee at Christmas break over the Continental Divide-- a 'nice brisk ride' he called it. While playing at Idaho, Herb became friend with his team mates like Tony Knapp, Lyle Smith, and Steve Belko. Herb, football, and these three friends would intersect again and again throughout Herb's life. Herb was described as a "quick, small, but feisty player". He was a 5'7"165 lb. running back. Herb followed Assistant Coach Percy Clapp to Colorado State as a junior to play football and would graduate with his teaching degree. He taught high school history and PE in Fort Collins and was 'paid a handsome wage of $100 per month'. Herb worked summers for Mountain Bell as a lineman.
WWII began and Herb enlisted in the Army. General Marshall saw Herb give a troop briefing at Ft. Benning and selected Herb for the Officer Candidate School. Herb was then selected for the Counter Intelligence Corps. He received his Japanese language training stateside and was placed in Japan as an Agent with the 441 CIC after the surrender. His old troop ended up in the Battle of the Bulge in Germany. Herb's counter intelligence work centered on apprehension of war criminals and suppression of Chinese Communists who were attempting to infiltrate the newly formed Japanese Government. He never forgot his 'secret agent' training and employed the intelligence tradecraft techniques his whole life.
Lorrain raised the children-- Herb John, Carol and James. But Lorrain did not want to be 'just a housewife' and attended BJC (now BSU), graduating with a teaching degree when she was 51. She taught second grade in Eagle for the next 25 years.
After the war, Herb went full time with the Bell Company and worked at Bell Labs in New Jersey. He then returned to Mountain Bell in Twin Falls and Boise. Over his career he was a lineman, toll repairman, central office repairman, plant superintendent, the Idaho Construction Manager, and the Idaho Public Relations Director. He retired in 1981 after 40 years of service.
Herb and Lorrain then became active ranchers and farmers. The Eagle Island Ranch was a cattle and hay operation, and the Snake River Ranch was a corn and grain operation. Both facilities are now operated by their sons, Herb John and James.
Herb began officiating football and basketball games when he was 30 years old and was an Umpire in the Big Sky Conference for 20 years, retiring in 1983. He was then selected as the official rater/observer for Big Sky football and basketball. He was selected to perform the same duties for the Big West Conference in 1996. In all, he had over 60 years in the field. In 1982 Herb was elected to the Idaho Senate from District 14. He served five consecutive two year terms. He said of those days; "We had to be statesmen, and be willing to compromise with the Democrats to achieve the best outcome for the public". Make no doubt about it; Herb and Lorain were staunch Republicans. Yet, they knew party politics came second to the public interest. They both were supportive of education and the free-enterprise system their whole lives. Herb was appointed by both Governors Andrus and Batt to be a Commissioner at the Industrial Commission, as the Director of the Department of Agriculture, and as the Director of the Disability Determination Service. During his years in state government he was known as a gentleman, and a man of character who treated people with kindness. The only people Herb disliked were liars and bullies. Lorrain stayed busy with the Republican Party, antique clubs, bridge clubs, and volunteered her time with the Assistance League. Both Herb and Lorrain were regular church attendees at Hope Lutheran Church and were well known for their philanthropic work throughout Idaho.
When they were 85, Herb and Lorrain decided to see the world. They traveled throughout Europe on many occasions, their favorite trips being on the mailboat' through the Scandinavian countries. Herb and Lorrain did not need society's approval for anything they did. They had strong values that guided their lives. Both loved and trusted the Lord to see them through. We miss them both terribly but know we will see them again soon. Please join the family and friends in the celebration of Herb and Lorrain's lives at 4 pm on June 16, 2013 at Meg's and James' house, 2109 Claremont Drive. We will have all the photos and memorabilia there to see. Please read the stories posted about these two on the web at

Published in Idaho Statesman on May 2, 2013
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