Charmian Joy (Sandberg) Carlson passed away peacefully at home in Eaton, CO, on Sunday, March 24, 2019, surrounded by the love of her family and friends.
The self-proclaimed “baby of the family” was born just minutes after her identical twin sister Sharon, on June 29, 1938, at home on the family dairy farm just outside of Granite Falls, MN. Her parents, Ellsworth and Laura (Able) Sandberg, proudly raised their twin daughters along with their older siblings, Virgil and Delores, surrounded by loving extended family who she remembered fondly throughout her life.
Charmian graduated from high school in 1957 after which she and Sharon headed to Mayville State College in North Dakota to begin their next adventure, training to become Elementary School Teachers. Charmian met the love of her life, Gordon Carlson, during her first teaching job in Colfax, ND, and they were married in 1961.
Upon marriage, Charmian became a rancher’s wife and enjoyed many years of gardening, canning, cooking, sewing and crafting, as she and her husband raised their four children and provided a home for two hired hands who lived with the Carlson’s until their deaths.
Gordon, the love of Charmian’s life, was tragically killed when Charmian was only 42 – leaving her with the responsibility of the ranch and four children under the age of 18. As she struggled to manage the responsibilities, she was surrounded by the love and support of special friends and relatives. Her sons had learned well from their father and were eventually able to take over the family ranch.
Charmian remained on the ranch, living with her oldest son John and near her son Duane and his wife Ellie. She loved becoming a grandmother and enjoyed watching them grow into adulthood. She spoiled those grandchildren with her many baking talents and sewing adorable matching outfits. She blessed many friends and family with her professional cake decorating and flower arrangements. Her talent was limitless.
Beginning in her youth with a case of Polio, Charmian struggled with fragile health throughout much of her life. While she managed well throughout her younger years, it became more difficult for her to live in a rural area. In 2009, she moved to Eaton, Colorado, to live with and to be cared for by her eldest daughter, Laurie, where she remained until her death.
A natural born extrovert, Charmian had a love of and a zest for life. She loved adventures – whether it was a trip to Walmart or a cross-country drive to New York to attend a grandson’s graduation. She loved people – she assumed that everyone was happy to see her – and this made it her truth. She was a devoted 4H Leader for many years, shepherding many local McLeod kids as they navigated through their many projects and demonstrations.
She was a beloved patient at dialysis treatment where she made her rounds and enjoyed being serenaded by “the boys”. A testament to her joyful spirit are the many visits of family and friends who journeyed from both far and near to spend time with her after she relocated to Colorado. During her final week of life, she spent much of her days sleeping, stating during a brief moment of wakefulness that she “had to get plenty of rest because she had a big party to go to and lot of visiting to do”. We believe she was preparing for her Welcome Home party that she is now enjoying in Glory.
Charmian was preceded in death by her husband, Gordon Carlson; her parents, Ellsworth and Laura Sandberg; her mother and father in law, John and Anna Carlson; her brother Virgil and his wife Delores Sandberg; her identical twin sister, Sharon and her brother in law, Richard Langager; and daughter in law Kelly Harper.
She is survived by her sister, Delores (Russell) Gabrielson; daughters, Dr. Laurie Carlson, Colorado; and Bonita (Martin) Coates, New York; sons, John Carlson and Duane (Ellie) Carlson, North Dakota; grandchildren Charlene and Brady Carlson, North Dakota, Rochelle and Corrie Peeler, Colorado, Dakota (Tiffany) Rudolph, New York, Bethany Rudolph, East Africa, Nathan (Natalia) Coates and Jessica Coates, New York; as well as many precious nieces and nephews, friends, neighbors and care givers.
May we all share the joy, wonder and love of life that Charmian celebrated.
Services will be held at 7:00 P.M. on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at the Allnutt Macy Chapel.