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Obituary – Lynn Carlson

Lynn CarlsonGreenville, Illinois – Lynn R. Carlson (WS ’62), 78, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, March 24th, in his home in Greenville, Illinois with his wife of 55 years, Helen, at his side.

Lynn was born on September 27th, 1942 the 3rd child of Adeline Harriet Lund Carlson and Merritt Alton Carlson in Breckenridge, Minnesota. He grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, attended and graduated from Fargo Central High School in 1960. He enrolled at Wessington Springs College in the fall of 1960 and graduated in May of 1962 with an associate’s degree. He went on to Greenville College in the fall of 1962 and graduated in May of 1965.

On June 19th of 1965, Lynn married Helen Frances Smith of Toronto, Canada in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. They moved together to Elgin, Illinois in the fall of 1965 with teaching positions in the public school. After two years of teaching Lynn and Helen traveled to Taiwan where they taught for 2 years at Morrison Academy in Taichung. Returning stateside in the fall of 1969 Lynn continued his teaching career in Zion, Illinois where he retired 30 years later. While teaching in Zion Lynn obtained his Master’s in Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater serving as a school counselor for 2 years. Upon obtaining his Master’s in Administration at Northern Illinois University he transitioned to an Assistant Principal position within the same school district. After obtaining yet a third master’s degree in School Finance from NIU Lynn spent 20 years serving as the Business Manager and Assistant Superintendent for Zion Elementary School District.

Lynn and Helen were active in Wesley Free Methodist Church in Waukegan, Illinois for many years where they still have many friends. Lynn also served on the School Board for 2 terms for Westosha Central High School where he lived and raised his family in Wisconsin.

Lynn was an avid sports person, no matter the competition. At Fargo Central, he captained the ice hockey team as a senior and also competed on the golf team. He played basketball and baseball at Wessington Springs and Greenville College. Throughout his life, Lynn loved competing and he quickly developed a keen skill and strategic understanding in any activity he picked up. In 1996 he was inducted into the Greenville College Athletic Hall of Fame. Upon his retirement in 2001, Lynn and Helen moved to Greenville, Illinois, and joined the Greenville Free Methodist Church renewing and deepening many relationships from their college days. Lynn and Helen traveled widely upon their retirement years. They lived in Greenville from April through October every year. But, from November through March Lynn and Helen lived in Casa Grande, Arizona in Palm Creek RV Resort and Residences where they made many good friends through the years. In his retirement, Lynn was an avid golfer until 2004 when he first picked up a pickleball paddle in Arizona. He soon began entering tournaments across the US where he won countless gold medals in his age bracket. Lynn had a passion for teaching the game of Pickleball and served in that role in his park in Palm Creek. In recent years he started the Greenville Pickleball Club where he played, taught, and administered the game for many local experienced and novice Pickleball players alike.

Lynn is survived by his brother, Morris, and sister-in-law, Gwen (Moeller) Carlson of Florence, Arizona, sister-in-law, Deb Carlson of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, wife, Helen, and children, Lynn (Donna) Carlson of Greenville, and Richard (Hannah) Carlson of Wauconda, Illinois, and grandchildren, Lyndsey, Kaleb, Luke, Grace, Ella, and Amelia Carlson.

Lynn was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Arlin, and sister, Eileen Carlson.

Memorials can be made out to the Greenville Free Methodist Church or to the Greenville University Baseball Program.


A 1962 graduate of Wessington Springs Academy and College, Lynn had many friends from there as well as from Central, many of whom wrote him tributes:

From Tom Van Bockern (CC ’70),

Lynn was my first role model when he was at Wessington Springs College. He spent one summer helping to build the new highway 34 east of Wessington Springs. He pitched for the Owls the local baseball team. I tried to emulate his straight over-the-top fastball but never succeeded. I will miss his infectious smile.

From Neil Arnott (CC ’69),

Lynn [wore] the biggest smile and [had] the best wit in the room. Quick reflexes [made] him the top competitor in all sports. He [was] everyone’s best friend. The hills of Wessington Springs Sodak [loved] it when he [ran] through them.

From Dave Jeffrey (WS ’62),

Very special friend. So glad for every moment together and every memory. Athlete, teacher, administrator, mentor, coach, friend, confident, lover of Helen and his wonderful family. Loved education, old friends, [pickleball] friends. Loved Greenville, North Dakota, church camps, and even Wessington Springs. Loved reminiscing about humorous experiences, travel adventures….floods of emotions and memories. Helen, we love you! Thank you for taking such good care of Lynn. Our prayers are with each of you!

Dr. David Ferrell (CC ’75), Executive Director of the Foundation of Central Christian College of Kansas, had the privilege of accompanying Lynn on a trip to Israel in 2019 and had this to say,

It was so much fun getting to know Lynn and Helen as we went to Israel together with a group from Central in 2019.


Central Christian College of Kansas is a regionally accredited institution offering undergraduate and graduate-level programs. Central strives to offer Christ-centered education for the whole person – heart, mind, soul, and strength. Its history dates back to 1884, and it is located in the friendly town of McPherson, Kansas. Central is a strategically small college that offers over forty areas of residential study and a thriving online program for non-traditional students. To learn more about who Central is go to Visit the Foundation of Central Christian College to see what projects and events are coming up.

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