Robert Carlson

Robert William Carlson, 89, died peacefully on June 16, 2022 in Carmel, Indiana with his family by his side. Born on Sept. 26, 1932 in Chicago, he was the eldest child of Dorothy and William Carlson.

A member of the Boy Scouts of America, earning his Eagle Scout badge, he graduated from Chicago Christian High School, Carleton College, and served as a U.S. naval aviator, stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, as a lieutenant. Upon his return, he began his business career in management consulting and became the chief financial officer at Bronson and Bratton, a manufacturing company in Burr Ridge.

He and his wife Barbara (Koch) were married in 1961 and lived in Oak Park and River Forest for the next 60 years. They were active members of Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest where they served in numerous lay leadership positions. On the board of the SAFER Foundation, he was actively involved in Bible studies and tutoring with inmates at Cook County Jail.

A lifelong runner, he enjoyed playing ice hockey, baseball and tennis well into his later years. And he always cheered for the Cubs and Blackhawks. The Japanese language and culture he was introduced to during the Navy remained an essential part of his life as did the many Japanese friends he met throughout his lifetime. 

He and his wife loved to entertain, and opened their house to visitors from abroad to stay for months to travel or study. He loved the simple things in life, like his famous “relish” and cookie smashes.

In 2021, they moved to The Barrington in Carmel, Indiana. 

Bob is survived by his wife, Barbara, and his three sons, Bob Jr., Bill, and Brian, as well as his grandchildren, Ryan, Bradley, Will, and Nick (Bob Jr. and Gayle), Micah and Anaka (Bill and Konni), and Kiernan and Charlie (Brian and Sarah). He is also survived by his sisters, Louise C. Sinclaire and Jane Carlson, as well as his “brother” Genichi Nagao. He was pre-deceased by his son Brad who died as an infant.

Bob’s life will be celebrated on Saturday, Aug. 13, in a funeral service at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division St., River Forest, IL 60305 at 11 a.m., preceded by visitation at 10 a.m. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts in memory of Bob be made to the Grace Lutheran Church River Forest Benevolence Fund.

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