Richard “Nighty” Carlson

Resided in Escanaba, MI
Died January 5, 2023

Ford River, MI



Richard Edwin “Nighty” Carlson, age 70, died peacefully at his home on the Ford River on Thursday, January 5, 2023. He fought a courageous battle against kidney cancer for close to 9 years. He is survived by Colleen, his loving wife of 52 years, and their four children : Philip (Cindy), Adam (Kristen), Carrie (Bryan) Lieberman, and Denise (Joe) Gillis. Richard was very happy to see 8 grandchildren join their family: Nicole, Ezra, Jacob, Tessa, Ashton, Ethan, Caden, and Dakin. Richard was preceded in death by one preborn child and two preborn grandchildren, his father Edwin “Eddie” and brothers-in-law: Charles “Buzzy” Winter, Larry Johnson and Dave Baker. He will be missed by his mother, May Carlson, and his 3 sisters: Carol (John) Hudson, Donna Baker, Mary (Doug) Brassick. He was also preceded in death by many camp friends, work friends, and childhood friends including dear friends Earl Hutchinson and Phil Johnson. Anyone who knew him will remember his constant companion for 13 years, Charlie.



Richard was a “worker” starting as a teenager. One of those early jobs was for Sandy and Harry Krebs at Burger Chef. There he met a young girl attending Bay College named Colleen. After graduating from Escanaba High School (Class of 1970) he knew he would be drafted so he enlisted for a 3-year stint in the Army. While in Boot camp he and Colleen decided they would marry and did so on his first leave home. They were married during a snowstorm on December 26, 1970. They spent the first years stationed at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama and Fort Clayton, Canal Zone. After discharge Richard looked for work in the electronics field he was trained in while in the Army and that took them to Mt. Pleasant, MI. Their dream was always to come back home to the UP and they did so in 1975. Richard worked at Anthony and Co. and then entered the apprenticeship for the Ironworkers Union. Over the next 30 years he worked in many places near and far and made many friends. The family spent 36 years living near Schaffer in a home that Richard fixed and remodeled. Upon retiring Richard wanted to build a new home and land was found in Hyde on the same river where he had grown up. The home he built took several years because Richard did almost everything himself, some of it even being completed after he was diagnosed and was being treated for cancer.



A member of St. Anne’s Parish, Richard’s Catholic faith was very important to him. His second date with Colleen began with Saturday evening mass. He attended retreats at Marygrove in Garden. He taught religion at Sacred Heart Parish in Schaffer. In his final days he received the Holy Eucharist often which Colleen brought home to him.



Richard was a long-time member of the Ford River Lions Club and played in their smear league. He enjoyed hunting at the family camp in Cornell. He was a lifelong Packers fan. He enjoyed a challenge and spent time playing baseball, canoe racing, golfing, and playing darts (Cricket). He enjoyed dancing at weddings, listening to “old” country music, drinking Busch Lite and giving his friends a hard time.



Richard always spoke his mind and was vehemently prolife which led to a few “conversations” with some of his buddies. He supported Colleen’s volunteer hours at our local pregnancy center. He also was not one to complain about his diagnosis. He was very grateful to our Lord for his many years of good health. In the first years of his battle with cancer he said “it is not why me… it is why not me”. He was very saddened when children would be seen on tv who had cancer. In light of his beliefs and in lieu of flowers, please consider memorials to Pregnancy Services of Delta County or St. Jude’s Children’s hospital.



Many thanks are extended to the cancer team at Bellin in Green Bay and Marinette. Dr. Mortara, the nurses and all staff members were wonderful but it was the many prayers offered over the years by family and friends that he and his family are the most grateful for. You have truly been our warriors. We love you!



Visitation will be at St. Anne’s Catholic Church, 1820 9th Avenue South in Escanaba, on Tuesday, January 10, 2023 from 4:00 to 5:30 PM with the Mass of Christian Burial at 5:30 PM with Fr. Fran DeGroot presiding. A luncheon will follow in the parish hall.The Skradski Funeral Homes are assisting the Carlson family.

8 Tributes for “Richard “Nighty” Carlson

    We are so saddened about Rich’s passing. He was a great father , grandpa, husband and friend. Our thoughts and hugs are with the entire family. This was such a nice tribute.

    I will miss Rich, he was a good Brother – In – Law. And a good person. Little known to all, we shared a whacky sence of humor. To his family, my prayers for all.

    I’m so sad to know Rich has passed. He fought a long and hard battle with quiet grace. He was such a good soul and friend to my dad, Hutch. I keep thinking of them together now, enjoying a beer and catching up. May the Lord bring your entire family comfort and peace.

    Adam, Phil, and the Carlson family, I am so sorry for your loss. I was so fortunate to have hunted at the Carlson camp with you guys, Randy, Doc, Dave, and Charlie. Rich will be deeply missed but never forgotten. Focus on all the good memories you had with him.

    I am sorry to hear of Richards passing. I know he will be missed by all his friends and family. I have many fond memories of times we had together when we were young.

    I met Richard an niagria paper mill , devoted skilled iron worker . Stood proud a loved the job . Thoughts a prayers to his family .

    Colleen and family, we are so saddened to hear of Richard’s passing. May God bless you all with comfort and many great memories of him. Our prayers go out for you all.

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