Carroll "Cappy" J. Karlsen

February 3, 1930 ~ August 1, 2018 (age 88)
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Funeral services for Cappy Karlsen of Warroad, MN will be held on Monday, August 6, 2018 at 11 AM at Zion Lutheran Church in Warroad.  Visitation will be on Sunday evening from 5-7 PM at Helgeson Funeral Home in Warroad, Interment will be at Riverside Cemetery. Military honors by the Warroad American Legion and V.F.W.

Carroll “Cappy”Jentoft Karlsen passed away on August 1, 2018, at the Senior Living Center in Warroad, from Alzheimer’s Disease.  He was 88.

Cappy was born on February 3, 1930 to Karoline and Nordahl Karlsen.  He grew up on the family farm in Swift, Minnesota, and attended the local school until the age of 12 when he and his mother moved to Warroad so he could attend high school.  Cappy graduated from Warroad High School in 1948, and in 1952, was drafted into the U.S. Army, just four months shy of graduating from Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis.

His military tenure and training began at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, until he was shipped out to Pusan, South Korea, where he served as a surveying specialist.  While he only served 11 months in Korea before being discharged in 1953 with the rank of Sergeant, Cappy remained active in the Army Reserve until March 1960.  He received the Korean Service Medal, three Bronze Service Stars, United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and two Overseas Bars.

Cappy was married to Gladys Norquist in 1954; they have two sons, Randy and Thom.  For a period of time in 1955, Cappy worked for Maynard “Buck Nelson, Sr., at his Husky Service Station, located on the corner of Highway 11 and Lake Street.  In 1956, he bought the business and operated it as Karlsen’s Husky Service until 1965; the old structure was razed and replaced with the new service station building which stands today.  He continued to operate the new business, Karlsen Mileage, until 1968 when he sold it to Western Oil and Fuel Co., and changed his career path to work as a rural letter carrier for the U.S. Post Office. 

For the next 22 years, Cappy drove over 120 miles, six days a week, delivering mail to dozens of customers, sometimes through the most severe weather conditions.  When a four-wheel drive jeep was acquired, he proved to be a redoubtable foe to the most extreme winters and spring thaws—he was reliable and dependable.  Over the years, many a farm dog sat patiently at the mailbox and awaited his arrival.   Once mail, flyers, or parcels were placed in the mailbox, tails would wag because next came the treat.  If the box of dog biscuits was empty, he shared his lunch.   Cappy retired from the post office in 1990, quietly and without fanfare.  That was his style.  He was able to enjoy over 25 years of retired living, much of it in robust good health.

Cappy’s haven was his garage.  Tools that filled drawers and hung on assigned spaces on the peg board above his work bench were extensive; some dated back to the early years of Karlsen’s Husky Station.  What couldn’t be found in the tool drawers of the work bench, were no doubt in one of the many drawers of the large, red, rolling tool chest.  Everything he needed to repair cars, lawn mowers, diesel engines, boats and air planes lived within.

Summer months, he was especially popular; most often on the weekend, and always during dinner.  The phone would ring, a desperate voice declared: “I need you now.”  A boat won’t start, relatives are coming to fish. Many an evening meal was left half eaten as he headed to the garage to pick through drawers, selecting just the right  tool for the triage call, secure them in his portable red tool box, and off he would go.

In retirement, Cappy acted on his recreational interest in the flying of radio-controlled model airplanes.  Long before drones began to invade the airspace, he experimented with aerial photography by using Duct Tape to attach a conventional 35 mm camera to the underside of a plane, which was equipped with a remote controlled trigger to press the exposure button.  The result produced incredibly clear and detailed photos of the home property taken from hundreds of feet in the air.  Leaving the repair of engines and cars to a younger generation, it wasn’t long before he discovered the need for a new talent:  the repair of radio controlled planes that “didn’t quite make it” as they came in for the landing.  As a result, the growing  acquisition  of an entirely new line of tools! 

Cappy was a life long member of Zion Lutheran Church.  Over the many decades, he was a continuous member of the Church Property Committee.  He served as a Church Council member, Sunday School teacher, and deacon.  His community involvement included serving on the Hospital Board, board member for the Senior Living Center, the American Legion,  and VFW. 

In summary, Cappy was a gentle, kind, and honest man.  He was non-confrontational, humble, and trustworthy.  He drew strength from his faith, which he carried and kept within.  The giving of his time, knowledge, talents, and resources he did so gladly, and always in the spirit of humility.  “God doesn’t promise us life will be a smooth journey, but he does guarantee a soft landing;”  this anonymous quote tells us that Cappy has most deservedly completed his journey, safely.   

Carroll J. Karlsen was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, Kenneth, Karl, and Ralph, Sr., and one sister, Myrtle.  He is survived by his wife, Gladys, two sons, Randy (Laurel), Thom (Brad), one grandson, Kristoffer (Kristen), one great-grandson, Leif, and many nieces and nephews.


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