Cover photo for Marilyn L. Carlson's Obituary
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1928 Marilyn L. Carlson 2024

Marilyn L. Carlson

March 21, 1928 — June 6, 2024

Goodland, KS

Marilyn Louise Carlson, beloved mother, grandmother, and friend, passed away on June 6, 2024, at Goodland Regional Medical Center in Goodland, Kansas at the age of 96. Marilyn was born on March 21, 1928, in McPherson, Kansas, the daughter of Henry and Grace (Logbeck) Burk. Her childhood years were spent on the farm homesteaded by her grandfather Swan Burk in 1871, an immigrant and orphan from Gothenburg, Sweden. Only twenty-six years old, Swan traveled by a horse drawn wagon to Manhattan, Kansas after working in Ottumwa, Iowa for six years, which at that time was the end of the completed line on the CB&Q Railroad. Both he and his brother Gus heard of a Swedish community in Lindsborg, KS and the availability of government land in McPherson County. They made their way to Lindsborg and then rode their horses south on the “Big Prairie” to the land that Marilyn owns today.


Marilyn was a kind and soft-spoken person, but at the age of fourteen years old, she learned to be extra tough after her mother passed.  Her father Henry was away from home much of the time buying and selling cattle for the farm feedlot. She brought food to grandfather Swan, listened to his stories, and learned to cook from Aunt Clara Burk when the harvest crew came to harvest the wheat. Being the only female on the farm, this childhood experience made her into an excellent cook and horse rider. She rode her horse on several occasions to visit the Hedlund and Chinberg families and Grandma Logbeck, but coming back home on one ride, the horse went into a gallop and became a runaway horse.  As she approached the red barn, she yelled to Hjalmer, the ranch hand, “close the barn door”, all she wanted was to keep her head on her shoulders. Hjalmer Lindblade was special to Marilyn, a large man who took care of mom when Henry was away on business. She always spoke fondly of her cousins the Chinbergs, four brothers that lived on a farm a few miles down the road and how they played together and made mud pies. Mrs. Sellberg, her childhood school teacher for eight years, was another important person during her early life.


Playing the piano was a passion of Marilyn that lasted for most of her life. Henry bought her a Steinway baby grand piano and she took lessons in Lindsborg from Dr. Oscar Thorsen, professor of piano at the Bethany College Conservatory of Music. Marilyn was an attractive young woman and as the story goes, Dr. Thorsen would play for mom during her piano lesson, instead of the other way around. For college, she went to Monticello College, an all-women’s college in Godfrey, Illinois to study piano along with her childhood friend Carolyn Adams.  During college, she met her future husband Vance Carlson at the wedding of their mutual friends, Joyce and Darrell Wilson, which led to her 40-year marriage with Vance. They married in 1949 after she graduated with a degree in Piano.


Their early years of marriage were spent moving across the U.S. following Vance’s professional baseball career. Marilyn loved to travel with Vance during baseball and his Big 8 football officiating career. Bowling was another passion when Vance opened Starlite Lanes in 1961. The Steinway piano made its way to Simpson Street in McPherson, where Vance and her three children would gather around the piano to sing.


Marilyn’s Swedish heritage was important to her. She loved attending Handel’s Messiah at Presser Hall in Lindsborg and stopping by the local grocery store to pick-up rusks to dip in coffee, Swedish rye bread and Bond Ost cheese was always on the menu during those trips. Her physical condition caused her to move to Goodland, KS in 2008 where her daughter Susan resides. Joint surgeries took their toll, leading to a wheelchair for her remaining life.  No matter pain, no matter losing her eyesight, Marilyn never complained. She was an inspiration, kind-hearted, loved music, loved her children and loved her homeland.  We shall miss her a great deal.


Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Grace Burk, brother Swen Burk and former husband Vance Carlson. She is survived by her children, daughter Susan (Steve) McCall of Goodland, KS, son Marty (Deborah) of Snoqualmie, WA, and son Neal (Yunhee) Carlson of Kenmore, WA. Her 6 grandchildren, Megan and Jena McCall, Zachary and Gunnar Carlson, and Cody and Jacob Carlson; and her 2 great-granddaughters, Skylar and Mazi.


The family will receive friends from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM, Friday, June 14, 2024, at Stockham Family Funeral Home.  The funeral service will be held at 10:00 AM, Saturday, June 15, at New Gottland Lutheran Church.  Burial will follow at the New Gottland Lutheran Cemetery. To view a live stream broadcast of the service, PLEASE CLICK HERE


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Bethany College Messiah of Arts in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.  


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Friday, June 14, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

New Gottland Lutheran Church

1822 17th Ave, McPherson, KS 67460


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