Mildred Catherine Carlson of Hendersonville, North Carolina entered her heavenly home on Sunday, October 1, 2023, after a brief stay at UNC Health Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville. Called “Dolly” by all who knew her, she was 93 years old.
Dolly was born on May 17, 1930, in Ironwood, Michigan, the daughter of Milo and Anna Sabol. By God’s grace she was clothed in Christ at her baptism, and she was confirmed in the Christian faith on May 17, 1953, at Zion Lutheran Church of Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
After graduating from Luther L. Wright High School of Ironwood, Dolly was employed over the years at Michigan Bell; AC Spark Plug; Rhinelander Paper Mill; Carlson Funeral Home of Rhinelander; and the Cliffs of Minnetonka. She considered serving the Lord as a wife, mother, and grandmother to be her highest calling in life.
Dolly embraced numerous charitable programs in Rhinelander over the years, often involved in fundraising for them. For instance, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was dear to her heart. Even more precious were the churches in which she and her husband were active members: Zion Lutheran of Rhinelander, Wisconsin; Ascension Lutheran of Plymouth, Minnesota; Ascension Lutheran of Sarasota, Florida; and Living Savior Lutheran of Hendersonville. Encouraged by the gospel of Jesus Christ, she frequently expressed a humble gratitude for God’s saving grace, and in her later years she often stated her desire to be with Jesus and with her loved ones in heaven.
On September 13, 1952, Dolly married James R. Carlson at Zion Lutheran Church of Rhinelander. The two of them made their home in Rhinelander for 34 years; in Minnetonka, Minnesota for seven years; and in Sarasota for 27 years before moving to Hendersonville in 2020. The Lord blessed Dolly and Jim with three daughters; three sons-in-law; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Besides her Savior and her church, Dolly’s family was always her greatest joy.
Dolly was gifted with a remarkable ability to strike up a conversation with every person she met. Her genuine interest in other people’s lives, her concern for their families, and her sharp-as-a-tack memory of those conversations were quite endearing. She never grew weary of sending thoughtful handwritten cards and notes to family members, longtime friends, and even recent acquaintances.
In addition to her parents, Dolly was preceded in death by her brothers John, Joseph, George, and Emil; by her sisters Anne Stefanidies and Mary Paich; and by her daughter Anne Hoyer.
Dolly’s surviving family includes her husband Jim of Hendersonville; son-in-law, Pastor Philip Hoyer of Jacksonville, Florida; daughter Catherine (Pastor Paul) Zell of Hendersonville; and daughter Mary (Dr. Thomas) Zellmer of Sister Bay, Wisconsin. In addition, she is survived by eight grandchildren: Andrew (Jen) Hoyer; John Hoyer; Elizabeth (Nick) Konietzko; Joseph Zell; Emily (Matt) Rothe; Heidi Zell; Dr. Catherine Zellmer; and Dr. Erich (Alicia) Zellmer. Dolly was also blessed with five great-grandchildren: Ava, Andrew, Julian, Gabriel, and Mila.
A memorial service celebrating God’s gift of eternal life will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, November 11, 2023, at Living Savior Lutheran Church of Hendersonville, with Pastor Philip Hoyer and Pastor Paul Zell officiating. Memorials may be directed to the building fund of Living Savior Lutheran Church of Hendersonville or to the student aid fund of Ascension Lutheran Church of Sarasota, Florida.
“I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).