Kurt is lovingly remembered by his family and friends. He was born in Fairbanks on Oct. 23, 1958, and passed away unexpectedly from a seizure disorder March 18, 2013. Kurt had many loyal friends that he kept throughout his life. He was a quiet and reflective soul, and kind and generous to those who knew him.
Kurt attended Lathrop High School but graduated from the then newly formed Hutchison Career Center in 1977. He had an interest in welding, carving stone and working with his hands. He worked on several carpentry projects over the years. He and his friend, Jim Prentiss, built a log cabin using trees on the site. "It was hard work but Kurt was in his element," Jim said. "Kurt was very talented in the woods, and good with notching and planning the logs for the cabin."
Kurt grew up in the Music Mart building - his dad's business. He played several musical instruments including trumpet, baritone horn, violin and drums, but drums held his interest. He and his dad, Karl Carlson, sometimes played gigs around town with Kurt playing drums and Karl on accordion. Kurt was also an expert piano mover at the keyboard store.
Kurt's favorite pastime was camping and fishing on the Fairbanks-area rivers and lakes, and he traveled whenever possible to Chitina and Valdez for salmon. He also loved to drive up the Steese Highway to the family cabins at the Sourdough Mine, "talk story" around the campfire, and flyfish for grayling on Sourdough Creek and Chatanika River. He was a respected team member on camping trips for his fishing abilities, and he kept his backpack always ready for the trail.
One of his favorite adventures growing up was the locally well-known co-ed Scout trip in 1973 with Scout leaders Amos Swarner and Rick and Karen Bouse, canoeing Birch Creek - an ambitious 140-mile outing with dozens of scouts.
"The creek had high water from a generous spring run-off which made the canoeing conditions a lot of fun. We encountered a lot of class III rapids - averaged 14 miles a day," his friend Jim Prentiss said. This was a quintessential Alaska adventure that many Fairbanksans fondly remember.
The Big Island - Hawaii, was another favorite place. He would bike from the family house in Captain Cook to Holualoa, working the summer at a farm nearby. He loved being outdoors.
Kurt is survived by his mother, Betty Carlson, and his three sisters, Janine Thibedeau, Barbara Johnson, and Anita Tomsha and their children; Sally Ann Thibedeau (New York City) Allan, Andre, and Lance Thibedeau; Amanda (Johnson) and her husband Marc Maillard, and their son Noah (Paris, France), Carl and Perry Johnson (San Diego and Ventura, Calif.); and Christopher, Rachel, Tristan and Tori Tomsha, of Fairbanks. Kurt was preceded in death by his father, Karl, and niece Erica Tomsha.
A celebration of life will be held at Radiant Church (formerly Eagles Hall) at First Ave. at Hall Street (by the Wendell Street bridge) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4. There will be a potluck dinner and music by Blake Gwalthney, the Penatac brothers and several of Kurt's friends.
We are grateful that Kurt is in heaven, and he says, "I'll see you when you get here!"
"Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free!"