Duane “Sonny” Carlson age 85 of Amarillo entered into the gates of Heaven on Saturday, May 7, 2022 surrounded by his family.
A rosary will be said on Tuesday, May 10. 2022 at 7:00 PM with a prayer service beginning at 7:30 PM at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 4100 South Coulter. The funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, May 11th at 10:00 AM at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church. Celebrant will be Rev. John Valdez. Interment will follow at Memory Gardens Cemetery. Arrangements are by Schooler Funeral Home, 4100 South Georgia.
Sonny’s story began on January 14, 1937 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was born to his parents, Harry Gotthard and Agnes Lillian Bastyr Carlson. He graduated in 1955 from Johnson High School in St. Paul just before enlisting in the US Army on November 25, 1955. During his time in the service he was stationed in Munich, was awarded the Good Conduct Medal and was honorably discharged in May of 1958. Soon after returning home from the military he attended a dance and it was there that he met Barbara Sokola. She was the love of his life and on July 2, 1960 the couple were married in St. Paul at St. Patrick Catholic Church. Their love story would evolve, two children would be born, Gwen and Rick, and their life together would span over the next sixty one years.
In 1977 the family would move to Amarillo. Barbara and Rick made the move first, leaving Sonny and Gwen in Minnesota to tie things up there. What Barbara didn’t realize is that Sonny thought since the family was moving to Texas, he and Gwen should host a going away party… for themselves! It was all great until Barbara called and heard all the ruckus. This didn’t surprise Barbara too much as Sonny was the life of every party. He was jovial, quick witted and funny. He could liven up even the sternest crowd. Sonny was a lover of all people and had a way of making each and everyone feel welcome and accepted.
Sonny had a few things he really enjoyed, not particularly in this order, but he loved the Moose Lodge, he loved dancing, he loved piddling with his hands, he loved his life and man oh man did he love his family. You could say that Moose Lodge 963 of Maplewood, Minnesota was a family thing and Sonny was a lifelong member of the Lodge. It was there that he danced and taught his daughter Gwen to dance as well. Sonny was a machinist by trade and could figure out almost anything, now some people might have called it “piddling” but Sonny had a knack for piddling; working with his hands, he could figure out almost anything.
Hardworking, Sonny was the epitome of a provider and his work ethic was impeccable. Sonny’s desire was to work and provide for his family whether that meant working one job or three. He wanted Barbara to be able to stay home and raise the children and he wanted to provide a good life to them all. And that he did, after starting out as a heavy equipment operator he retired in 2006 after twenty-seven and a half years with SPS/ Xcel.
Sonny and Barbara were able to travel many places and enjoyed going on tours with a group from St. Thomas the Apostle and Father Tash. He was very active at St. Thomas especially in the Men’s Club, always enjoying the golf tournament held each year and casino nights.
The couple traveled to Hawaii for their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Perhaps some of his most favorite times traveling were to see family, especially his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Times spent with his family filled his heart with joy, there was nothing that could make him any happier.
About fifteen years ago, after retirement, the couple decided to start wintering down in McAllen at Paradise Park. Over the years they formed close and solid friendships with others in that community, in fact, they became family.
Sonny was a multifaceted man, a true caring, compassionate, and respectful man. He was sacrificial in his love for his family. He accepted everyone as they were and where they were with no exceptions. He loved BIG and truly lived his life by the golden rule, treating everyone with love and respect. Sonny lived his life as an example and as a mentor to all those around him. He will be forever loved and deeply missed by family and friends alike.
Sonny was preceded in death by his parents and by a sister, Beverly Jahn.
He is lovingly survived by his wife Barbara of the home; by his daughter Gwen Johns and husband Eben of Amarillo; by his son Rick D. Carlson and his partner James Clark of Holiday Island, Arkansas; his sister Carol Renstrom and her husband Allen of Oakdale, Minnesota; his brother Ronny Carlson of Fridley, Minnesota; by his nine grandchildren, Caleb, Kasha, Caten, Kyler, Kolbe, Kiera, Conor, Brittany and Brianna; by his nine great-grandchildren, Austin, Arabella, Merrick, Xander, Avanlea, Zipporah, Emi, Nolan and Wolfie; and by many other nieces, nephews, family members and friends.
The family suggests memorials be made to the St. Thomas Men’s Club. St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church c/o the St. Thomas Men’s Club, 4100 South Coulter, Amarillo, Texas 79121.
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