Ronald F. Carlson March 6, 1943 - May 20, 2014 Ron was born to parents of Scandinavian heritage, Emil and Violet (Davis) Carlson, in a home on Olympia's Eastside. He always said he came into the world with his best side forward since he was a breech baby. His schooling took him through Old Roosevelt Elementary, Old Washington Junior High and graduation with the class of 1961 at Olympia High School. His father passed away suddenly so Ron went to work flipping burgers for the Burger House in Tanglewilde. His mom insisted on a college education so he enrolled for a few years at Centralia Community College and then transferred to Western Washington College, receiving a degree in Geography. His summers were spent working at Continental Can in Lacey. At this time, he also decided to marry and, since the United States was entering the Vietnam Conflict, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and attended officer school. He was eventually sent to Vietnam, flying an OV10 as a Forward Air Controller. After his tour of duty was over, he returned to the Olympia area and enlisted in the reserves, flying B52s. He wore his flight jacket often and proudly! Military aircraft and war history were the discussion at many meals with friends and family. He never tired of watching Top Gun on his surround sound system with the volume cranked up until you also felt the need for speed. By now, he had two children and finances were important, so he found employment with the Washington State Department of Personnel as a Personnel Officer on Franklin Street in Olympia. After several fun years, he was offered a new position at the Department of Ecology's Personnel Program in Lacey, where he classified individuals. Lunch hour was usually spent at Dirty Dave's Pizza, where you'd find him reading the paper or with coworkers munching a Pepperoni, Sausage and Extra Cheese or the Gay 90s Special no onions. In 1997, he decided to retire and have fun traveling and enjoying his lake home. During this time period, he divorced his first wife, remarried and divorced again. His children were grown and also starting their own families. Sports were an important part of his life from an early age, especially hockey and the San Francisco 49ers. The state AG's annual Husky trip with a stopover at the Rainier Brewery was a "must" for him and friends. His other passion became Corvette Roadsters, his favorite being a 1968 mellow yellow with IM FIXD. Ron was a casual dresser; jeans and a team shirt or a sweater and his team or flight jacket were his norm. Getting him to wear a suit or tux was a challenge. After retiring, he sold his lake home and remarried for the third time. His daily routine was a morning stop at the China Clipper and the Emperor's Palace, where he made friends and always had a fun, positive attitude. His glass was always half full, never half empty. He also had his wingman Hawk (9:00), Chukar (3:00) and REO Lady Y (6:00) to keep him safe. Sunday mornings found him with friends and family at Fatso's Tavern where laughter and stories prevailed. Ron's many loving friends and family will remember him, including wife, Y. Oliva Burroughs; stepson, Shane Oliva; son, Chris (Kathy) Carlson; daughter, Pamela Carlson; four grandchildren; sister, Marge Craig; and four nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Vietnam Memorial Fund or Wounded Warrior Project. Celebrations of his life will be on May 27, 2014, at 9:00 a.m., and May 30, 2014, at 4:00 p.m., at the Westside Emperor's Palace. Private inurnment will take place at a later date. Please leave memories at www.FuneralAlternatives.org. Arrangements through Funeral Alternatives, 360-753-1065.
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Published in The Olympian on May 25, 2014
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