Ralph Oscar Carlson made his debut in this world on October 24th 1934. He was born to parents, Mabel Lillian Erickson and Oscar Adolf Carlson, 8 whole years after his sister Donna was born. His oldest sister, Lavon, died at the age of 3 on the very day Donna was born, so he never knew her in this life.
Ralph was such a sweet little boy, that his mother always said she wished she had 10 JUST LIKE HIM. He had an active imagination and could rarely be seen roaming and playing in his neighborhood of Sugarhouse without his cowboy boots on, earning him the nickname "Cowboy" from his father and others that knew him. His boots eventually wore all the way through and his dream of owning a pony and riding through the wild, wild west evolved. Ralph was industrious and driven from a very young age, getting his very first job in 6th grade as an assistant to the janitor at Forest Elementary, (which no longer stands today. ) He helped clean classrooms and take out the trash before and after school, earning him $9 every two weeks. Following that, he got a job with Spudnutz, selling donuts door to door. They were .30 cents per half dozen in those days. Earning his own money was important to him because he always wanted to dress well and have "nice clothes". That never changed. He also attended Irving Jr High, another school that is no longer in existence.
By the time Ralph was 16, he had saved enough money to buy himself a 19-- Chevrolet--- convertible with white-wall tires and white leather interior. He even had it painted his South High School, school colors, blue and white.
As you can imagine, he was quite popular with all of the girls and his friends, being one of the only ones with his own set of wheels back in those days. He was very involved in everything social and fun. That was just his personality. He sang in the famous South High Acapella Choir and was even a cheerleader in his junior and senior years. He says it was because he couldn't play football after a severe kidney injury, but those of us that knew him believed it was more about cheering with the pretty girls.😉
Ralph always appreciated pretty girls but was also very classy about it.
Aside from school and social activities, Ralph was also an avid golfer and snow skier. He was even a competitive ski jumper for a period of time in his early years.
From 1955-1957, he was known as Elder Carlson. He eagerly and humbly served a 2.5-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in Sweden. He was the 3rd generation in his family to serve a mission there. During that time, he developed what would become life-long friendships that would ultimately be known as "The Swedish Dinner Group" for the next 65 years and counting.
While on his mission, Ralph's parents moved to a new house in Sugarhouse which would prove to be one of the most significant events of his life and would set him on the course for his entire future. You see, living directly across the street, on the corner of Westminster and Imperial St. was this cute little 15-year-old girl named Susan Haymond. 'Suzi" would come over and help take care of Mabel's mother, "MooMoo", quickly endearing herself to the Carlson family.
At this time, Ralph was attending the University of Utah, was in the Naval Reserves, part of the symphonic choir, and was singing in a professional quartet.
He could have had his pick of just about any of the cute college girls.... but he had his sights set on Suzi. The two of them began dating as soon as she turned 16 and went steady for the next 2 years.... waiting until 2 days after her 18th birthday to ask her to marry him. He knew she was to be the love of his life the day he first set eyes on her.
Ralph and Susan married in the Salt Lake City Temple on November 18th, 1960.
While he was working on his degree in English and Sociology, he worked in security at the old SLC Airport. He also served in the Naval Reserves for 12 years, discharging as a "Petty Officer, 2nd Class Yeoman", which helped to pay for his college education. He graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor's degree and would go on to become a full-time Seminary teacher at Skyline High School for the next 4 years.
During that time, he and Suzi were growing their little family. Holly Kay, was their 1st born...born on Christmas Eve, 1962... Ralph lost his father, Oscar Adolph Carlson in 1963, just months before Ralph and Suzi's second child, David Oscar would be born. Although he loved teaching, it didn't pay well. With a growing family, he needed to change professions, so he moved into pharmaceutical sales as he continued to teach early morning seminary, part-time. Ralph ALWAYS made sure to keep the gospel and his love for the Savior, in the forefront of his life and family, but found his professional niche in PR and sales of some sort for most of his adult life.
Over the years, their family grew.... subsequently adding Christian LaCell in 1967, Mitchell Ralph in 1970, and Madeline Suzanne in 1976.
Eventually, life would take the route of real estate and commercial development for the next several years. During this time, their family had the opportunity to live in St George, UT., San Jose, Ca., Bloomington, UT. Park City, Utah....and eventually Mesa, AZ.
Some fun little facts about Ralph: He was very involved in theater and was quite the entertainer. You could say he was a real "song and dance man" all of his life.
He played some pretty major roles in community theatrical productions in Park City. He played the part of "Fagin" in "Oliver". The "Rabbi" in "Fiddler On The Roof". "King Pellinore" in "Camelot". "Dr. Spivey" in "One Flew Over the CoCo's Nest". "Howard Benedict" in "Applause". "THE PROFESSOR" in "My Fair Lady". "The Nazi" in "Cabaret". And "The traveling salesman " in "Order is Love".
He would continue his love for entertaining through doing part-time commercial acting and print work over the next decade, for the Robert Black talent agency.
In 1986, Ralph and Suzi made a big move to Arizona with only 1 child left at home and a need to start over and rebuild financially after some difficult setbacks. He worked hard, took on second and sometimes 3rd jobs such as working graveyard shift at a local gas station to make ends meet. Not once during those times did he complain or lose faith. He did what needed to be done and paid his tithing without question even when it didn't seem like things would work out. They ALWAYS did.
Little did they know they would end up spending the next 20+ years in Arizona. After a decade of building business for Safelite Auto Glass, at the age of 61, Ralph would change professional direction for the last time. He started a commercial window cleaning company of his very own, and with the help of Suzi by his side, they spent the next 12 years building a great reputation and over 460 revolving accounts. Their hard work paid off and eventually made it possible for them to retire and fulfill a lifelong dream of theirs to serve a full-time mission as a couple on Temple Square from 2008-2010. Ralph also served as Temple Ordinance Worker in the Mesa Temple for 13 years and in the Jordan River Temple for 1.
In 2014, they made their final move... "coming home" to Utah where they would live out the remainder of their years together.
Ralph brought honor to the roles of "son", "husband", "father", "grandfather", and "friend" like no other. He exemplified what it is to love your Father in Heaven, your spouse, and your family.
He was blessed with 5 children with whom he always kept close to:
Holly, David, Christian, Mitchell, and Mandi.
He also had 16 grandkids, and 11 great grandkids. Those were some of his most cherished relationships.
Ralph passed away at home on December 18th, 2022 with his one and only love, Suzi, right by his side as she had always been. He will be so missed as we all learn to navigate this life without him.
He was preceded in death by his
Father, Oscar Adolf Carlson (1963)
Mother, Mabel Lillian Erickson Carlson (1992)
And Sister, Lavon ---- Carlson (1926)
It was a joyous reunion on the day they welcomed their boy home to heaven with them as they undoubtedly said, "Well done, son.....Well done"
Funeral Services will be held Friday January 6, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Gardens, located at 1950 E Dimple Dell Road, Sandy, Utah. A short viewing will be help prior to the services at the same location from 12:30- 2:00 p.m.
Those wishing to view the COMPLETED services via Zoom can click on the "Watch Services" button or follow the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/_ngPR1KnYoTsRf8IlTy9sBs3IMJHCj-jc9YQ5Vhgs2i6D4vfQ6YJehwbKXCg_PfZ.4y9tGlTP5dF90xUt?startTime=1673037630000
I will forever remember Uncle Ralph as a gentleman, especially to my mom, his sister. Lots of memories, and family. Fun. My love to all his family, ❤️❤️❤️
Love you Ralph❤️
My deepest condolences go out to you and your family.
What we loved about Ralph was his beautiful singing voice. He was always a true friend that we could count on. We had many fun times with Ralph and Susan going to dinner, playing games and having them come up to our summer home in Heber, Az.