A J was born to August Junior Carlson and Sally Cook in Susanville, California. He was the only child and would swear that he was not spoiled. He spent his childhood and teenage years in Herlong, California. He played football and baseball. He enjoyed his high school years and talked about the games he played in and the travel he did. AJ also had a great experience in church activity as a youth. He participated in popular dance activities sponsored by the church. He traveled all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah to participate in them. He also would travel to Reno, Nevada to participate in these activities and be part of a larger church membership lacking in his hometown.
He served for two years as a missionary in New Zealand for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He expressed how he treasured those experiences. He loved the Maori people and brought back with him many Maori phrases he used all his life. His kids would say that he would call them to meals using one of these phrases and they knew what it meant even if he was saying it wrong. Jason the youngest of his three sons would later serve as a missionary in New Zealand as well. He jumped at the chance to visit the islands once again, and at the conclusion of this mission AJ and Ben his middle son flew off to New Zealand to meet Jason. Over the next month they toured the entire country in a small motorhome living off the local food and culture AJ loved. He had so much fun that he spent the last few days of the trip in a hospital passing a kidney stone he had knocked loose while exploring bumpy back mountain roads. Even after this experience he found the energy to visit Fiji and Hawaii on the way home.
Following his mission experience he attended BYU studying business. He talked about his experiences at BYU with fondness and a smile. He related his enjoyment of the activities at school and with the church. During this time at BYU he attended a country dance where he met Julie Olson whom he later married. They were blessed with three sons: Ammon, Benjamin, and Jason. They eventually moved to Kearns, Utah where they raised their children.
A J liked to play. He took his family on camping trips and adventures all over the Midwest. His sons experienced many State parks and places that others rarely see. One such trip was the Pony Express trail. His sons remember a long dusty road and a hot sweaty, stinky camper truck. The only access of water for miles was a cold spring emptying into a cow trough. Somehow he talked the family into bathing at mid-day in this trough. He also enjoyed dirt biking and introduced his boys to it. As much as possible he and his three sons would ride the dusty mountain and desert trails of Utah. Later his two oldest sons accompanied him on a cross country motorcycle ride through Silver City Nevada, up the northern coast of California, and through Sequoia National Forest. Benjamin his middle son remembers getting rained on in clear weather, but soon realized that it was not rain but sunflower seeds that AJ was spitting out in front of him. AJ was a hunter and enjoyed time with his friends and family in nature. His wife always said a good trip was one with the boys, but please don't bring anything home.
After a divorce he was married to Anna Lee Andrus. Together they enjoyed twenty-two years together. During this time they traveled in a motorhome east to New York City to pick up Benjamin from the completion of his mission. This was a three week trip where he visited many states and sites he had dreamed of visiting his whole life. He followed the trek route of the early Saints, and had almost as many setback and car troubles as they did. This trip was ultimately an enjoyable experience and he talked about for years. He was an avid photographer and built his own dark room in his home. Early in his life he ran a photography studio, managed a Radio Shack and a theatre, but eventually he made his career with Utah State Corrections retiring in July 2002.
Since his retirement he has enjoyed camping, trips to both coasts, riding the side by side and the most important was flying his remote controlled airplanes. A J had many friends in the flying field. He loved going to the desert to fly. Any excuse to fly was a good excuse. He was talented at building remote control planes and this was always a winter project because he could not fly in the winter. He enjoyed the time with the guys at the flying field and the weekly lunches he had with this group of friends.
AJ also love family dinners at his home and time with his grandchildren. A J loved to watch the grandchildren grow and learn. He gave several of the boys little airplanes so he could share his love for the planes. They will always look back and smile and laugh at these good times.
He always enjoyed the outdoors ‚ from camping with his folks to riding the side by side at St. George to Marysville and thru the Uintah's. He loved the beauties of the mountains, streams, and trails. He was adventurous and always wanted go the extra mile to see all he could on every trip.
He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He loved the church and tried to be an example that his parents and our father in heaven would be proud of. He served in many positions in the church. His last position was teaching the High Priest Quorum and he always found this to be a rewarding experience and one he felt that he learned and grew from. He appreciated the service of the High Priests during his last days.
AJ was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, three sons Ammon, Benjamin (Kami), Jason (Ali), four stepchildren Benjamin (Kim), Robbie (Heather), Michelle (Sherman), and Karri (Bobby) and eleven grandchildren.
Funeral will be Friday, May 22, 2015 at Draper 12th Ward, 600 East 12300 South, Draper, Utah. Visitation is from 0930-1045am. Funeral will start at 1100am. Interment will be at 11am on May 26, 2015 at Larkin Sunset Gardens on 10600 South 1950 East. Please share online condolences at firstname.lastname@example.org