On February 7, 1926, Carl Carlson went to pick up Mrs. Malla Minge, the local midwife, to assist with the birth of their child, a boy. He was baptized Elmer David Carlson by Rev. Andal and was the fourth child of Carl and Helen (Bergerson) Carlson. Siblings Clarence, Oscar and Alice had been born in Erskine, Minnesota, before the family moved to their farm 3 miles east and 1½ miles north of Fosston, Sask., where they built a substantial log house, which is still standing today.
There would have been a lot of music in Elmer’s early life as his mother played several instruments and Carl was the church organist. Both were excellent singers. Life changed drastically when Helen died of cancer in 1930. Elmer was only four years old.
He started school at age seven, going to Hopeful School one mile away. In the winter, they used horse and toboggan, but Elmer remembered having a dog that pulled him to school on skis. He used to raise pups, trapped rabbits, caught gophers, rode horseback a lot, helped with farm work and fixed fences.
On June 21, 1944, Elmer enlisted in the army. He was 18 years old. He became a rifleman with the Royal Regina Rifles, serving in England, Holland and Germany. Following his discharge on August 2, 1946, Elmer got a loan from Veterans Affairs, which he used to buy a tractor. He started farming,
renting his dad’s land and raising Shorthorn cattle.
Elmer had met Florence Evelina Lovdahl when she taught at Hopeful School in 1942. They were married at Scandia Lutheran Church, Hendon, Sask., on July 10, 1949. They built an 18 x 24-ft. three-room house on the farm. Carol was born in 1950, Jim in 1951, and Dale in 1953. There was no electricity or telephone. Elmer trapped muskrats in the winter – 600 one year – stretching the skins up in the attic of the little house. He hunted deer and moose in the fall. Crops were hailed out two years in a row.
Florence was offered a teaching job in Rose Valley, so the family moved into town in 1955. Elmer began his many years of driving 8 miles to the farm. He kept his trap line, using a snowmobile in later years. He enjoyed curling, golfing, and fishing. He was active in Zion Lutheran Church, serving many years on church council and teaching Sunday School. He had a good bass voice, and enjoyed singing in the choir. When Jim and Dale got into Boy Scouts, he assisted and taught outdoor skills. Elmer was also a long-time supporter of the Wildlife Federation and was a life member of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Elmer drove a school bus route from 1964 to 1976. Florence and Elmer enjoyed camping, fishing and travelling in Canada and the U.S.A. They helped build a family cabin at Greenwater Lake in 1984. He retired from farming in his mid-60s due to arthritis, but was still able to look after their home, large yard, and most importantly, Florence, as her health failed. Elmer moved to seniors’ housing in Tisdale, Sask., in January 2012, to be closer to Florence, who was in Newmarket Manor there. He visited her faithfully and often. Florence passed away in May 2013. In August 2014, Elmer moved into Caleb Retirement Village and met many new friends there. Elmer passed away December 20, 2016, at the Tisdale Hospital after a long hospital stay.
Elmer was predeceased by his parents, Carl and Helen; wife Florence; brothers, Clarence and Oscar; Jim’s partner Terry; and sisters- and brothers-in-law.
Left to mourn his passing are his children, Carol and Steve Lane, of Tisdale, Sask.; Jim Carlson of Prince Albert, Sask., and Dale Carlson and Glenda Maurer of Norton, Kansas, U.S.A.; grandchildren, Liam Lane of Edmonton, Alta., Maia, Leif and Neysa Carlson of Manhattan, Kansas, and Rhees Carlson of Lawrence, Kansas; as well as cousins in the United States, and nephews and nieces in Canada.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the
paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff
they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence
of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head
with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the
days of my life: and I will dwell in the house
of the Lord for ever.