George W. Carlson
Augustana Class of 1954
The Rev. Dr. George W. Carlson, 84, died peacefully at hisSan Diegohome surrounded by family on November 13, 2011.
Dr. Carlson was ordained in the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church on June 20, 1954. His first call was as the mission developer and pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Cross in Riverside, Calif. He served as the senior pastor of First Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from 1965 through 1982; and as the senior pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, San Diego, Calif., from 1982 through 1990.
Following his retirement from parish ministry, Dr. Carlson founded and became the CEO of Pacific Media Ministry, a faith-based venture in San Diego whose mission was to uplift values, ethics and faith in the media. He led the production of 150 MIDPOINT television programs that aired nationally on the Faith and Values Cable Channel.
Dr. Carlson was committed to ecumenical relations and social justice. Throughout his life, he chose to make a difference in his community, this nation and around the world. He served on numerous boards and committees of the Augustana Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. These included tenures as president of the Riverside-San Bernardino Council of Churches and president of Lutheran Social Services of Iowa. He was National Chairperson of the LCA Hunger Committee and Secretary of the U.S.A. National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation. He also served as Chairperson of the U.S.A. Mission-Service-Development Committee of the Lutheran World Federation. His commitment to world mission took him on memorable trips with parishioners to Japan, Bangladesh, Africa and South America.
He received an honorary doctorate from Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill.; the Distinguished Alumni Award from LSTC; and the Alumni Award for Community Service from Augustana College.
Dr. Carlson is survived by his wife of 62 years, Marlyss, his five children and 11 grandchildren. A memorial service was held at Christ Lutheran Church, San Diego on November 19. His ashes are inurned at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. Ashes were also scattered in the Pacific Ocean at the Cabrillo National Monument seashore.