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Kenneth G. Carlson



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Kenneth Gustav (“Pappy”) Carlson, 86, a very longtime resident of Newtown, died peacefully, surrounded by family, following illness, on August 13.

Pappy was born July 2, 1936, to Gustav and Ida Carlson, in New York City.

He had one younger sister, Mariana.

The family moved to Newtown in 1943, settling in Dodgingtown.

They lived across the road from the one-room schoolhouse there. Just 7 or 8 years old then, Ken was the one tasked with opening the building and starting the fire each morning. He progressed through the Newtown schools.

He was a member of the first full class to graduate from Newtown High School, in 1954, when it was located on Queen Street. The Class of 1954 literally took their books from Hawley School and walked them to their new high school during their junior year.

Ken met Barbara Pattison in 1958. They began dating, and were married on May 6, 1961. They lived in Danbury for a year, before moving to Sandy Hook, where they lived for the rest of their lives.

Ken was a tool and die maker. He later had a managerial position at Black & Decker until retirement.

He then worked part-time with The Kennedy Center for 15 years, in Southbury, on Project Choice. He also drove for FISH (Friends In Service Here), helping others get to medical appointments.

Ken joined Dodgingtown Fire at age 16. After he and Barb were married, and moved into Sandy Hook, he joined Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company in 1973. He was a firefighter, engineer, and fire police. In June 2000 he was among the earliest members of the company to earn the rank of Life Member.

He loved his time with the fire company, his wife said. He always made a point of keeping the kitchen clean after events, and occasionally cooked dinner following Monday night company meetings with fellow senior members of the company. In recent years Sandy Hook VFR members made sure there was a chair waiting for Pappy under the tent set up for the cooking area at LobsterFest, when he would still greet and smile at everyone who stopped to visit him.

Pappy was a longtime member of Newtown United Methodist Church. He served on many committees, including as president of the board of trustees when the parsonage was built. Pappy was also part of the group who launched monthly pasta dinners at the church. Originally intended to be a short-term fundraiser when the first dinner was presented in March 1989, the First Saturday Pasta Dinner quickly became a staple in the calendars of many NUMC members and residents alike.

He was also a faithful volunteer for FAITH Food Pantry.

His grandchildren were his joy. He liked to say: “Every opportunity you have, take them. They are so young for so short a time.”

Pappy was loved by generations of family and friends. He was very good to everyone, and always wanted to do for others.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years; his sister and brother-in-law, Mariana and Al Grusi, of Tulsa, Oklahoma; and son and daughter-in law Craig and Pam Carlson, of New Milford; daughter and son-in-law Robin and Neal Kilson of Southbury; Stephen (Gus) of Thomaston; and daughter and son-in law Carrie and Mark Warner, also of Southbury.

He is also survived by his grandchildren: Megan and Colby Garrapy; Jessie and Ben Smith; Rob Carlson; Matthew and Ashley Carlson; Kendra Kilson, Cassidy Carlson, Zachary Warner and fiancée Erica Schulz, Courtney Carlson, Hannah Kilson, and Hunter Kilson; and great-grandchildren Ryan, Kinslee, Grayson, Gwen, Carter, Gavyn, and Day.

He was predeceased by his parents.

Services are planned for 11 am Saturday, August 20, at Newtown United Methodist Church in Sandy Hook. The Reverend Mel Kawakami will officiate. Friends and family will then gather at the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue main station, on Riverside Road.

Per Pappy’s wishes, there are no calling hours.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be considered for Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue, PO Box 783, Sandy Hook CT 06482 or sandyhookfire.com and/or FAITH Food Pantry, PO Box 53, Newtown CT 06470 or newtownfoodpantry.org.

Kenneth Gustav (“Pappy”) Carlson (July 2, 1936-August 13, 2022) —photo courtesy Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company
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