David Eugene Carlson

March 3, 1939 - May 5, 2023


Last updated 7/4/2023 at 12:49pm

David Eugene Carlson was born on March 3rd, 1939, in Denver, Colorado to Elmer and Nellie Carlson. Gene, as he was affectionately known, was born with black hair and hazel eyes. Adored by his parents, he joined his older sister Martha, and was followed by his younger brother, Don.

A busy boy, Gene could often be found on a baseball field. He was raised in the Baptist Church, valuing service at a young age that would extend throughout his life. He was a 1957 graduate of McMinnville High School in McMinnville Oregon, where he was a three-sport athlete. After graduating high school, Gene attended Linfield College, where he earned a degree in chemistry and continued to be a three-sport athlete.

At 22 years old, Gene took a job with Allied Chemical Company and was sent to work in Atlanta, Georgia. Although he was successful, he felt unfulfilled with his career choice. After some soul searching he decided to quit his job, move home, and pursue a career in teaching.

While living again in McMinnville, he noticed a beautiful redhead. Once she graduated from nursing school, Amber Moss became his wife, on December 22, 1966. Their life together was filled with love and laughter and they lived happily ever after for 57 years.

Gene's love of teaching and a sense of adventure led to his and Amber's move to Tokyo, Japan, where he taught at The American School in Japan and where their first child, Piper, was born. Two years later to the day, their second child, Ginger, was born in Portland.

Gene taught math and coached, first at Vernonia High School, then at Madison High School in Portland, and then at Sandy High School. It was here at Sandy High School that Gene entered school administration, where he became a vice principal. He then became the principal/superintendent at Yamhill-Carlton High School and eventually he retired from Rainier School District as its superintendent in 1998. He was not able to stay retired for long. Gene took many interim superintendent positions all over the state, and he and Amber moved from place to place enjoying each new community. All the while they would return each summer to their home in Sisters, OR.

Known as "Grandad" to his six grandchildren, Gene loved to garden, travel, and golf. He was a big supporter of his grandchildren and would attend games, school activities, and concerts or any other excuse to cheer on those he loved. Among his favorite treats were OREO Double Stuf cookies. His rooster cookie jar was always full, much to the delight of his grandchildren, who remember sneaking cookies from under its lid.

At the end of his life, he battled a series of medical issues that caused him to lose most of his mobility. He died peacefully in his sleep and was welcomed into Heaven with a joyous celebration by his celestial family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Nellie Carlson.

He is survived by his wife, Amber Carlson of Fruitland, ID; his daughters Piper (Rick) Kelm of Pendleton, OR and Ginger (Jeff) Church of Fruitland, ID; six grandchildren including Madison Kelm, Danielle Church, Riley Kelm, Allison Church, Katelyn Kelm, and Mark Church.

A celebration of life will be held Tuesday, July 11 at 11 a.m., at Sisters Community Church, 1300 McKenzie Hwy. in Sisters. A reception will follow.


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