Memorial services for Gayle D. Carlson, 70, of Williston, North Dakota who died, Friday, April 9, 2010 at his residence of apparent natural causes, will be held at 2 pm Friday, April 16, at the Fulkerson Funeral Home Chapel in Williston. Pastor Al Beyer will officiate and cremation has taken place. Friends may share memories and condolences with the family at www.fulkersons.com
Gayle Delmar Carlson was born July 3, 1939, to Archie and Ella (Kuehn) Parker at Terry, Montana. He was raised and educated in Terry and was raised in the Lutheran Faith. School and Gayle didn't agree with each other, as Dad often told the story about escaping from study hall down the fire escape of the Grandey school to hang out at the stockyards with his cowboy friends. Gayle completed the 8th grade and later went on to get his GED and completed some college courses in law enforcement at Glendive Community College. He thought education was important and was very proud of his children's academic accomplishments.
At the age of 17 he enlisted into the US Marine Corps where he served for two years in San Diego, California. He was honorably discharged at the rank of corporal and returned home to Montana. He experienced parachuting in the Marines and ever since said that if we were meant to jump out of airplanes we would have been born with wings.
Upon his return to Terry, he met Myra Anderson, one of the "new crops" of single school teachers and on May 28, 1960, he married his life partner and best friend in Miles City, Montana. The couple made their home at Terry for a time where they started a family with the births Audrey and Blaine. They moved to Wolf Point where Gayle worked for the Billings Gazette as the distribution manager and Christie and Deidree rounded out the family. It was a running joke that it was good that Dad caught onto the alphabet after just ABCD or he would have had a lot more mouths to feed.
Later they moved to Glendive where his career in law enforcement began. He truly loved this work. His colleagues became a second family to all of Gayle's family. One particularly fun event was a midnight picnic in Makoshika Park at the end of a stretch of 3-11 shifts. Mom and other wives brought food, Dad loaded up our Chevelle station wagon with sleeping bags where we kids crashed after roasting hot dogs and marshmallows to our heart's content. After about 3 years on the Glendive Police Department, Gayle applied and was accepted to the Highway Patrol Academy from which he graduated in the top 10 percent of his class in 1969. He chose not to pursue a career with the highway patrol, but instead made a move to Glasgow, Mont., where he continued his law enforcement work at the Air Force Base. Due to health reasons, Gayle left the law enforcement field in 1972.
Together with his wife Myra, the family purchased and ran the L & M Drive Inn at Terry and later the Coast to Coast Hardware store until 1988. Some of his children's "favorite" memories are of times spent working as a family in those businesses. In August of 1983, Gayle had the opportunity to return to the work he loved when he was hired as undersheriff for lifelong friend and mentor, Gary Larsen.
Health issues continued to plague Gayle and forced his retirement in 1986. Gayle and Myra moved for a short time to Billings and then, in 1992, to Williston, where they have made their home.
He was a Mason and lifetime Shriner as a member of the Al Bedoo Shrine in Billings, MT. He enjoyed collecting guns, eagles, and belt buckles. Gayle was a people person and loved a good story and joke. He delivered and was the recipient of many practical jokes throughout his life. Dad was always there for his family and would drop what he was doing to come the aid of a daughter whose car broke down or help one or the other of the kids move or offer his salty, though usually sound advice. Gayle loved and was committed to his family and he is woven into the fabric of our lives. He will be missed.
Gayle is survived by his wife, Myra of Williston, ND; son, Blaine Carlson of Baghdad, Iraq; daughters, Audrey (Neal) Stromberg of Culbertson, MT, Christie (Ray) Mallory of Hauser, ID, and Deidree (Jim) Wurth of Martinez, CA; grandchildren, Scott, Ben and Todd Stromberg, Lynn and Branden Mallory, and Becky Bearce; great-granddaughter Tabitha Bearce; sister-in-law Ruth Carlson; and numerous nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Arnie and Raymond (Sonny); an infant sister; and grandson, Michael Wurth.
Friends may call at the Fulkerson Funeral Home in Williston on Monday and Tuesday from 9 AM until 6 PM to view his remains and sign the guest register; and one hour before services at the Funeral Home on Friday, April 16, 2010.
Published April 14, 2010