Obituary: Esther Carlson |

Obituary: Esther Carlson

Esther Hedwig Carlson, aged 82, died peacefully on May 10, 2015, at her home in Winter Park, Colo., of natural causes. Esther was born Nov. 21, 1932, in Chicago, Ill., the only child of William and Hedwig Winter. Hedwig (Hedy) remarried, and at the age of 10 Esther was adopted as the step-daughter of Heinz Schaal. Her parents all preceded her in death.

Esther graduated from Niles High School in Skokie, Ill., where she was a member of the National Honor Society, and for a while attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where she studied Nursing. In 1950, Esther married the love of her life George William Carlson, and they settled in to married life in an apartment in Evanston, where they started a family with three children. George was a butcher for Jewel Tea, and Esther was now a waitress at Marshall Fields.

In 1958, they moved to Mundelein, Ill., where they bought a new house and started another new chapter in their lives. George was now a Meat Department Manager for Jewel Tea, and Esther settled in as mother, housewife and gardener. They started Greenview Kennels, raising, breeding, and traveling the Midwest showing Siberian Huskies. One of their greatest achievements was when Kalooch Katalla of Greenview earned his Championship while still in Puppy Class – the youngest Siberian Husky to finish in AKC history at the time. In 1962 their youngest son was born, and the family was finally complete.

In 1963, they moved to Winter Park (formerly Hideaway Park), Colo., and purchased the Harmon Cafe. Combining their talents, the cafe re-opened as Carlson Cafe, a community mainstay for 34 years until George’s sudden passing in 1997. The location was a perfect choice for them, as the family living quarters were in the same building as the cafe – a must when you are raising four children! Of course it didn’t hurt that Esther’s parents, Heinz and Hedy Schaal, owned the Valley Hi Motel next door. In 1968, fire devastated the cafe and house, and George and Esther found themselves starting over once again.

Married for 47 years, one of George and Esther’s greatest passions was traveling and exploring the U.S. – they found something extraordinary in every single one of the contiguous 48 States where they vacationed. After hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with Outward Bound one year, they went back and did it again the following year on their own, just so they’d have more time to “stop and smell the roses.” Other favorites were their travels in the Southwest to such places as Chaco Canyon and Canyon de Chelly.

Antelope hunting camp every September soon turned into annual family reunions. While George was the cafe chef, Esther always thrilled everyone at camp and on vacations with her own exceptional culinary skills and cuisines suited for only the finest of restaurants! With George’s passing and the cafe closing in 1997, Esther wrote another new chapter in her book. Always an avid reader and book lover, she turned what had been her volunteer work at the Fraser Valley Library, into a full time position. After 10 years, she retired as Circulation Manager in 2008. Always adventurous, in 2005, at the age of 72, Esther decided sky-diving was next on her ‘list’! She took her first (tandem) jump in October of 2005, and would jump twice more by the age of 75.

All this while raising four children who survive her: Charles (and Sandra) Carlson of Bonney Lake, Wash.; Gail Carlson of Arvada, Colo.; Kathleen (and Jim) MacAllister of Gunnison, Colo.; and Matthew (and Melissa) Carlson of Westminster, Colo. Surviving Grandchildren include Eric Carlson and Steven Carlson [Charles]; and Christine Gray and James (and Lisa) Beda [Kathleen]. She also leaves nieces, nephews, and many close friends she held dear.

The family would like to take this time to thank the Community for their support and friendship over the past 52 years. We hope the memories we leave you of Esther, George and Carlson Cafe will be lasting in your hearts, as you all will be forever in ours. From the bottom of our hearts, Chuck, Gail, Kathy and Matt.

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