Carlson was born on Dec. 22, 1929, to Henry and Agnes (Fagerstrom) Carlson in Minneapolis, Minn. Carlson graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree and magna cum laude with a Medical Degree from the University of Minnesota.
He practiced general surgery before Deaths/Funerals
beginning his life-long study and practice of cardiovascular surgery in 1965. Carlson helped pioneer revascularization surgery and, as assistant professor of surgery at Cornell University Medical School, participated in the first heart transplant in New York City in 1969.
Carlson lectured around the globe, teaching open-heart surgery to cardiovascular surgeons. He finished his career teaching chest surgery at Texas A&M University Medical School.
Carlson served his country as a captain in the U.S. Air Force from 1956 to 1958 while stationed in Alaska at Ladd Air Force Base.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Florence Carlson, his parents and his brother.
Carlson is survived by his wife, Marie Carlson; four children, David (Jan) Carlson, of Portage, Wis.; James (Stephanie) Carlson of Tucson, Ariz; Diane (James) Enniss of Martinsville, Va.; and Joel (Mary) Carlson of Houston; six grandchildren and two sisters. He is also survived by his four step-children, five step-grandchildren and seven step-great grandchildren who he referred to as “bonus” children and grandchildren.
Memorial services were held at Zion Lutheran Church in Anoka, Minn. on Monday, Aug. 2. The burial was private.
Memorials can be made to Zion Lutheran Church choral music program.