Clarence F. "Chic" Carlson

Resolute, resourceful, generous, gregarious, civic-minded, heroic, and caring are adjectives that describe Clarence Fritz "Chic" Carlson, 85, who passed away just after midnight on January 1, 2012.

Born in Akron to Kerstin (nee Knutson) and Fritz Carlson on September 26, 1926, Chic was a first generation Swedish American who only learned to speak English after entering Kindergarten. He graduated from Akron Central High in 1944 and enlisted in the
Army, where he attained the rank of first sergeant and served in The Pacific War before being struck with polio. He spent two years recovering at the Army-Naval Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas before returning to Akron. He met his future wife, Juanita Day, on a blind date arranged by his high school pal Don Dove, who was also Juanita's first cousin. They married in 1948 and together raised three children, Mark, Elaine and Bruce. A 1950 graduate from the University of Akron, Chic worked briefly at Modern Motors before joining Babcock and Wilcox, from where he retired in 1981 as Senior Accountant. But Babcock and Wilcox was only Chic's day job. When still in college, he began acquiring residential rental property, beginning with a four-unit apartment building. Over the years Chic bought and then traded up, acquiring properties in Akron, Fairlawn and Solon. His second retirement, in 1986, came when he sold his final property, a 300-unit apartment complex. There was another area in which Chic worked, however, from which he never retired. Beginning as a young man, he was committed to community service. He started as a Jaycee, which is where he acquired the nickname "Chic". He was a member of the Northeast Ohio Apartment Association, the Akron Ohio Post-Polio Support Group, the Cleveland/Akron Vasa Order of America (a Swedish-American fraternal, cultural and educational organization), the Weathervane Playhouse and, since 1971, the West Akron Kiwanis club. Not just a joiner, Chic was a doer, devoting time, talent, energy and financial support to the organizations he championed. He served as president in both Jaycees and the Apartment Owners Association, as a distinguished Lieutenant Governor for the Ohio District of Kiwanis International, and served on the Board of Trustees, several years as secretary, for Weathervane. He attended fundraisers, contributed to annual funds and got a kick out of running hole-in-one contests and pancake breakfasts. He helped organize class reunions. He served as president for several terms in the Army-Naval Hospital reunion group of polio survivors.

Digging into First Congregational Church of Akron archives, Minister of Pastoral Care Duane Angel commented on the extensive leadership role Chic had assumed since joining First Congregational in 1950. But Chic was not all work and no play. He enjoyed golf for many years, was a lifelong bridge player and, until recently, active in bridge groups at the Akron Women's City Club. Chic loved to travel, both the world and to visit his family, who are spread across the U.S. Earlier this year he accompanied son Bruce on a trip to Sweden. He enjoyed tinkering, and to the amusement and admiration of family and friends, he worked out quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties, many brought on in recent years by post-polio syndrome.

Predeceased by his wife, Juanita, Chic is survived by his three children and their families who will greatly miss him: son, Mark Clarence Carlson (Dimity Boll Carlson, Ph.D.) and their children Brett, Nicholas (Anna) and Craig; daughter, Elaine Kerstin Wolf (Fred Wolf, Ph.D.) and their children Kerstin Wolf Sinkevicius, Ph.D. (Apolinaris Sinkevicius) and Richard Wolf, and son Bruce Alton Carlson (Linda) and their children Andrew (Alicia), John, Samuel (Jessica), Peter, Elliot, Matthew, Claire and their three grandchildren Aiden, Matteus and Arian.

A service honoring the life of Chic Carlson will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, January 15th in the sanctuary of First Congregational Church, 292 East Market Street, Akron, Ohio. Memorial donations may be made to First Congregational Church of Akron or Weathervane Playhouse (1301 Weathervane Lane, Akron, OH 44313).

Published in Akron Beacon Journal on January 6, 2012

Link to Obituary Akron Beacon Journal