The world lost a great man. Our husband, father, grandfather, son, and brother, Don Rickie Carlson, 70, returned to his Father in Heaven on July 1, 2020 after a valiant battle against cancer. Rick was born December 10, 1949 in Provo, Utah to Don E. Carlson and Lauralie Jones. Growing up, he lived in several cities across Utah and California. He was a champion at marbles and had a large collection of the top baseball cards. He had excellent aim and won the State Rifle tournament. He loved sports and played baseball and football in high school. He was a top athlete but moved a lot in his high school years so his dreams of becoming a professional baseball player was difficult to obtain.
He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the New Zealand North Mission. He loved his mission, the country, the people, and the food. Many years later, he was able to return and was initiated into the Tarawa family in traditional Maori custom. They loved him and he loved them.
After his mission, he served in the US Armed Forces in the Army National Guard. His sharp-shooting skills continued and he was among the top in the Army artillery unit. Rick was a proud American and very patriotic.
He then attended and played soccer at Brigham Young University. He graduated with a degree in Sociology and Psychology with a minor in Physical Education and later earned a teaching degree. While at BYU, he met the love of his life, Linda Lee Taylor. They were married soon after on February 22, 1973 in the Salt Lake Temple.
While they were expecting their first child, Rick was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Disease (cancer in the lymph nodes). He was one of 5 out of 352 diagnosed with the dreadful disease to survive. He was told they would never have more children because of the radiation treatments yet they were able to have 5 more.
He chose a career in education teaching middle and high school. His love of sports is what made him want to be a coach. He coached soccer at Hillcrest High School and they took 2nd in State. He was so proud of his team and loved them. He was asked to be a Principal but did not want to give up coaching so he remained a teacher where he could have a better influence on the students.
Rick loved his children and worked several jobs to support their hobbies. He was their #1 fan and attended all of their activities, coached their teams, and let them know they were capable of anything. He loved his grandchildren and continued attending and supporting their events when he could.
In 2009, he was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon and liver cancer. He battled through chemotherapy and was given a few months to live. He defied all odds again and was blessed with 11 more years allowing him to meet 10 more grandchildren, remodel his home, go to Paris with his sweetheart and travel to many bucket list locations.
He was a man of many trades and talents. He could build anything from furniture to home additions. He loved working with wood. He was a small business owner which included handyman, painting, siding installation, real estate agent, and merchandising. He especially loved his landscaping business and running his tractor. One of his highlights was working for the 2002 Olympics at Deer Valley skiing competitions and being a part of that exciting experience. Rick was always willing to be of service to anyone. Since his passing, we have learned of so many instances when he helped or showed up for others in their time of need even without being asked.
Rick loved the outdoors, especially the mountains. He took his family on a lot of fun camping trips to Yellowstone, Calgary Canada, The Redwoods and all over the Wasatch Front. He also loved fishing, golfing, water skiing, snow skiing, hiking and riding his horses. He loved his horses and dogs but his Beagle, Lady, saved his life during his second battle by wanting daily walks and knowing when he needed comfort.
In April, Rick was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma of the liver and multiple Myeloma in his spine. He faced cancer just like he faced everything else in his life; with courage, faith, optimism, and dignity, with gratitude and love for all those on his team fighting for him. Throughout his suffering and even up to the very end, he always had a smile, thumbs up, or a wink. He never complained about anything thrown his way. He taught us all about endurance, courage, and of trust in his Father in Heaven.
Rick is survived by his wife, Linda; his children, Tami (Darren), Ranie (Colin), Josh (April), Jolinda, Joni (Garrett); 13 grandchildren, Canon, Blaze, Pierson, McKay, Evan, Kaylee, Kendyl, Kourtney, Kyler, Raylee, Lexi, Laney, and Caden; mother, Lauralie; brother, Randy (Laurie); sister, Lori. He was preceded in death by his cherished daughter Tonya and his loving father, Don.
We would like to thank all of our family and friends for the outpouring of love and support during this time. Rick, you are so loved and will be incredibly missed until we meet again. Heaven needed a hero.
Graveside services will be held at 11:00 am on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 East Dimple Dell Road (10600 South), Sandy, UT. The family will receive friends from 6:00 - 8:00 pm Monday evening.
Please share a memory or story of Rick for the family at www.larkinmortuary.com
Life Story Info
Linda and family, I just learned of Rick's passing. It breaks my heart. I am so happy that I had time coaching with him at Hillcrest High school. He was such an awesome coach and teacher to all those young men. Bless you all. I know how you feel and will be praying for you. There are better days coming. My love to you Linda and your sweet family.