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Verner Charles Carlson

April 27, 2018
Verner Charles Carlson
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Obituary for Verner Charles Carlson

Vern Carlson, 64, died peacefully April 27, 2018 in his beloved village of San Juan Cosalá, Jalisco, Mexico due to complications of a brain stem stroke in December.
He was born in Merced, California to Jean (Stoughton) and C. Verner Carlson. He married Kathleen Marie McGushin on September 20, 1986 in Riverwoods, Illinois. He is survived by Kathleen; his brother Richard S. Carlson (Jane) of Atwater, California; his sister Marion Amanda (Mandi) Carlson of Carey, Idaho; and many in-laws, “outlaws”, cousins, nieces & nephews, and their 11 year old labradoodle, Gracie.
Vern’s formative years in Merced centered around the outdoors. His father worked as a farm advisor for the Merced County – UC Extension Service and the family owned an almond orchard (which sold to Blue Diamond) and a vineyard (which sold to Sun Maid). Vern, along with his siblings, were often enlisted to work these fields. As a teenager, he worked at a nursery where he developed a love of flowers and plants and a lifetime enthusiasm for gardening. An avid cyclist during his teenage years, Vern would often bike from Merced to Yosemite National Park 70 miles away. All three kids learned to sail on a Sun sailboat (homemade in the family’s driveway by the entire family) on Lake Yosemite near Merced. The boat was named “Maverick”, after all three kids’ names.
In 1979, Vern moved to Chicago where he took a job as a business systems developer. It was during this time that he began sailing competitively on Lake Michigan, and there he met Kathleen who was a member of the race committee. Vern was a crew member on her uncle’s boat, Good News, and the rest is history.
In 1990, Vern and Kathleen left their corporate jobs, sold their house and most of their “stuff” and moved aboard their 38-foot sailboat, Weldajean, to explore the world together. During their 3 ½ year sabbatical, they traveled over 35,000 miles to 26 countries and completed two trans-Atlantic crossings.
On returning to Chicago, Vern worked as a configuration analyst at Medline Industries in Vernon Hills, Illinois for the next 15 years … and he took up golf. By 2010 he had grown tired of Chicago winters and was ready for a new adventure. He googled “best climate in the world” and learned about Lake Chapala located on a high mountain plateau in Central Mexico. By May of 2011, Vern and Kathleen had retired, purchased their home in San Juan Cosalá and were discovering a more relaxed way of living and more time for each other. Vern was truly in his element and incredibly happy in Mexico, where he gardened and played golf year-round, built globos (large paper hot air balloons), volunteered at the local charity consignment shop, fostered puppies for the dog shelter, perfected his Spanish, and gave back to the Mexican community. He will be remembered for his intelligence, wit, sense of humor, willingness to help others and, of course, his infectious smile. His was a life well-lived and well-loved, a life that will be deeply missed by many.


Vern's Celebration of Life Wednesday May 30, 2018, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Mama Maria's Taco Bar 16117 South LaGrange Road, Orland Park, IL 60467. Phone number: 708-403-3346.

Interment private

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to one of the following organization would be appreciated: Operation Feed, San Juan Cosalá,
Click on “Menu” button in upper left corner of home page and go to “Donations”.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to Operation Feed, visit: and choose Operation Feed. On the “donations” page, there are step-by-step instructions for making a donation online or by mail with a personal check or Lakeside Spay and Neuter Center (“The Ranch”), Click on “Donations” in the left-hand column on the web site’s home page. 708-857-7878


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