Life Stories: The Rev. Walter Carlson, 82, Army Veteran, College Counselor

walter-carlsonThe Rev. Walter Carlson passed away on Nov. 6 at his home in Somerset at the age of 82.

The Rev. Carlson was born on February 3, 1934 in Glen Ridge and lived in Washington, New Jersey, New York City, Fair Lawn, Wayne, and Verona before moving to Somerset four years ago. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1958 and then served our country faithfully in the United States Army as a specialist in intelligence from 1958 to 1959 and again from 1961 to 1962. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1967, completing his seminary work at The General Theological Seminary in New York City. He served as a parish priest in Episcopal churches in Pompton Lakes, Pittsfield, MA., Bayonne, Belvidere, and Fair Lawn. He retired from parish ministry but continued to help others through his work as a supply priest and as a College Administrator at the Audrey Cohen College for Human Services and Education in New York. He spent his career counseling, supporting, and championing those who turned to him for guidance.

After retiring in 1999, he enjoyed reading and music, particularly preferring classical, jazz, and big band music. He was a gifted painter and photographer and enjoyed attending the theatre as often as possible. Retirement also freed him up to spend time with his grandchildren, and he spent countless hours on the sidelines of soccer games, softball tournaments, and cross country matches.

The Rev. Carlson was predeceased by his brothers, Robert and David Carlson.

He is survived by his wife of fifty-two years, Marlene Varga Carlson of Somerset and their children David Carlson and his wife Lara Pennington of Maplewood and Anne Finetto and her husband Todd of Hillsborough. He is also survived by his sister Lois Bowlby of New Mexico and his five grandchildren, Devon, Paige, and Mackenzie Carlson, and Travis and Brody Finetto.

Visiting will take place on Friday from 4-8 p.m. at the Gleason Funeral Home, 1360 Hamilton Street. A funeral service will begin on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on South Fullerton Avenue in Montclair. The family will be greeting people at church starting at 10 a.m.

Please consider a contribution in lieu of flowers in Rev. Carlson’s name to the American Heart Association at www.heart.org or to the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org

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