Cover photo for Ralph Carlson's Obituary
Ralph Carlson Profile Photo
1936 Ralph 2021

Ralph Carlson

September 28, 1936 — October 19, 2021

Elbow Lake

Ralph Lester Carlson 85, of Elbow Lake, Minnesota, died unexpectedly at home, Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

Ralph was born on September 28, 1936, to Lester and Madge (Drexler) Carlson on their farm in Norcross, Minnesota.

Ralph attended District 40 Country School (through eighth grade) and graduated from Elbow Lake High School.  He was baptized and confirmed at Norcross United Methodist Church. After high school he farmed with his dad on the family farmstead. For a short time he drove the ice cream truck for Schwan’s in addition to farming.

On February 20, 1971, he married the love of his life, Mary Keller. They continued to raise cattle, dairy farm, and grew grain and sugar beets until he retired 1999. The family farmstead is currently farmed by Ralph’s nephew, Boone Carlson.

After retirement, Ralph and Mary moved to Elbow Lake on Tipsinah Mounds golf course, where Ralph spent most of his free time golfing. They wintered in Arizona which allowed him to continue golfing all year. In addition to golfing, Ralph enjoyed meeting his regular coffee group in Norcross to shake dice, traveling, playing games, putting puzzles together, and watching the Twins and Vikings.

For 25 years he served as Treasurer of North Ottawa township. And served as a member of Norcross Coop Oil board.

Ralph is survived by his wife, Mary, of Elbow Lake; son, Corey (Michelle) Carlson of Fargo ND; stepchildren, Larry (Lois) O’Meara of Bemidji MN, Edee O’Meara of Winston-Salem NC, and LouAnn (Jeff) Bullis of Apple Valley MN; several grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. His brother, Lynn (Robin) Carlson of Alexandria, MN; sister, Marlene Vogel of Morris, MN.

Ralph is preceded in death by his parents, Lester and Madge Carlson; sister Donna Gjervold; and brothers-in-law, Duane Gjervold and Don Vogel.

Arrangements by Erickson-Smith Funeral Home, Elbow Lake, Minnesota.

A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 AM Saturday, October 23, 2021, at St. Gall’s Catholic Church, Tintah Minnesota.

Visitation 6:00 – 8:00 PM Friday, October 22, 2021, at Erickson-Smith Funeral Home, Elbow Lake, Minnesota, resuming one hour prior to the service at the church.

Interment:  St Gall’s Cemetery, Tintah, Minnesota.

In lieu of gifts memorials preferred to American Heart Association.

Online condolences:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ralph Carlson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, October 22, 2021

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Erickson-Smith Funeral Home - Elbow Lake

116 1st St NE, Elbow Lake, MN 56531

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Mass of Christian Burial

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

St. Gall's Catholic Church

110 Minnesota Ave, Nashua, MN 56565

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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