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Obituary for Earl J. Carlson

Earl J. Carlson of West Salem died Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. He was 88 years old. Earl was born March 7, 1929, to Arnold and Erna (Hugo) Carlson long-time residents of West Salem. He was the last surviving of six brothers. In his younger years, he spent his time with his brother's hunting, fishing, and engineering adventures in the Veterans Memorial Park area of West Salem. In high school, he played basketball and spent time working at the local theater in West Salem. He graduated from West Salem High School in 1947. After high school, he served in the army during the Korean War. He was stationed in Tokyo from 1951 to 1953 and served as a corporal. Earl served in the Inspection Branch as a Fire Control Supervisor. In Tokyo is where he met his wife of 63 years Tomi (Fujimaki). Upon returning to the United States in 1954, he attended WWTC and received a degree in electrical drafting. He then went on to work at Trane Company for 40 years and retired in 1986. Earl was an engineer at heart and enjoyed creating and building things. But he also enjoyed reading, camping on the Mississippi River, hunting trips to Montana, and playing the accordion. In addition to his family, his passion was the 100-acre hobby farm he and Tomi purchased in 1965. There they raised three children. He loved the outdoors and animals especially horses and dogs. You could often find him on his tractor, cutting wood, taking care of animals, or tinkering in his garage. He called it The Ranch. While living in La Crosse, he was a member and trustee of the North Presbyterian Church. And was one of the individuals who designed and help build the church at its current location. He later became a trustee of the Presbyterian Church in West Salem. Earl is survived by his wife, Tomi; three children, Karen (Gary) Willinger, Kevin, and Lisa (Louis) Carlson; four grandchildren, Emily Willinger (special friend, Kenny), Kyle (Holly) Willinger, James Johnson and Barb (Brandon) Silbaugh; a host of great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Cynthia Carlson, Debbie Carlson, Diana Carlson, and Doris Carlson; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and five brothers, Floyd, Maynard, Clarence, Bill, and Kenny. Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m., on Jan. 15, 2018, at the Presbyterian Church of West Salem, 625 W. Franklin St., West Salem. Rev. Larry Olson and Rev. Stephanie M. Steiner will officiate. Military honors will be rendered at the church following the service by the Berg-Hemker-Olson American Legion Post 51 of West Salem and the United States Army Funeral Honor Guard. Burial will be held at a later date in Neshonoc Cemetery. A visitation will be held from 10 a m. until the time of service Monday at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Presbyterian Church of West Salem or the Coulee Region Humane Society. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Jostad Chapel, West Salem, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be sent at The family would like to thank the staff at Mulder Health Care Facility in West Salem as well as the staff at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse for all of the care provided to Earl.