Cover photo for John E. Carlson's Obituary
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1930 John 2021

John E. Carlson

April 28, 1930 — March 20, 2021

John Eric Carlson of Statesboro, Georgia, passed away Saturday, March 20, he was 90. Born, April 28, 1930 in Montclair, New Jersey, John was the son of hard-working parents who emigrated from Sweden. Growing up in the Great Depression taught John many life lessons that shaped his character for life.  Although, sickly as a child, John persevered, winning the Engineering Prize in High School and going on to graduate with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Newark College of Engineering, now known as the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

John started a family with his wife, Rosemary, living in Verona and then Basking Ridge, New Jersey, working for many years at Union Carbide and Colloid Chemical as a research chemist. John took a position with Borden Chemical in Louisville, Kentucky moving with his wife and daughter, Julia, in 1977, with the hope the warmer climate would improve Julia’s chronic asthma and lung infections.  Shortly after, he was transferred to Maryland as Borden was acquired by Teledyne.  John commuted back home on weekends for along time but then the family made the decision to move even further south to Georgia, home of John’s wife’s birth mother and family.  In the Fall of 1979, they settled in Statesboro with John still commuting for a time until he landed the position of Head of Research and Development at Chem Nuclear Systems in Barnwell, South Carolina.

In 1984, while at Chem Nuclear, John was awarded a U.S. Patent for his development of a unique and safe means of encasing and disposing of low level radioactive nuclear waste and he called it “Chemsonite”. In the early 90’s Chem Nuclear was acquired by Waste Management, Inc. and his position was moved to Washington state. He declined the transfer as he and his family were settled and happy in Statesboro. Instead, he opted to take early retirement and keep his family in the city they all called home. To support his family, John continued to do sporadic consulting work and also hired himself out as a wall paperer, something else he was an expert in.

John and Julia were caregivers to Rosemary until her passing in 2005 and they enjoyed six years together making needed improvements to their home themselves, growing vegetables and spending time with their three dogs.  Even after a disabling accident in late 2011, John continued with his passion for research making breakthrough discoveries in cement hydration. He compiled a report after years of discoveries through testing, analysis and research.  Naming the report “Fundamental Hydration Chemistry of Cement”, he sent it without obligation to colleges and universities across the U.S. and some to Europe.

John was also a self-taught gemologist, gem cutter and jewelry maker—hand cutting and setting gemstones in hundreds of unique jewelry pieces over the years. He first made for family but later sold to coworkers, acquaintances and others he would meet in his travels.  In his later years, he enjoyed making special items for relatives, friends, Julia and her friends.

John loved classical music, especially the operas of Richard Wagner, and the last year of his life took enormous pleasure watching and listening to the Metropolitan Opera Channel on TV.  In his “younger days” he played the organ and guitar, while also singing in several church choirs in New Jersey.  John had a lifelong faith and in his later years watched D. Charles Stanley every Sunday morning; he knew Christ and that Heaven was his home.

He is preceded in death by his wife of nearly fifty years, Rosemary Joyce Carlson and also two brothers and a sister.

He is survived by his three children and one grandson as well as several nieces, nephew and cousins. His eldest son Keith E. Carlson of Mesa, Colorado; son, John G Carlson and his wife, Becky, of Boise, Idaho; his daughter, Julia E. Carlson of Statesboro; Kristopher Carlson, his only grandson resides in Grand Junction Colorado; Kristopher’s mother and former daughter-in-law, Sandy De Felipis, lives in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

Also, he leaves behind two special friends he considered family the last few years, Mark and Raquel Siar of Pooler, Georgia. Mark and Raquel were always there for he and Julia when Needed and Raquel spent 2015-2016 living in his home helping he and Julia so much.  He developed a “pen pal” friendship with Julia’s friend Elizabeth Lee-Hill of Sylvania, Georgia and her visits, cards and notes brought him much joy these last two years.

At his request, there will be no funeral or service and in lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Humane Society of Statesboro and Bulloch County  Dad’s best friend, Goldie, arrived 27 months ago from their foster program, improving his last years on earth in an incredibly special way.  Dad loved Goldie and Goldie loved Dad.

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


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