Late in the afternoon of July 7, 2013, a wonderfully loving heart stopped beating in the Emergency Room at Hammond-Henry Hospital in Geneseo. Sara J. Carlson, 76, of Geneseo, eased into God’s care with the support of a dedicated medical staff, two close friends, and her husband.
By now, friends and relatives are welcoming Sara. No doubt, she is surrounded by children who are enjoying her God-given talents as a Teacher. Nearby, cats are purring and waiting impatiently for their turn for Sara’s attention. We, who are left behind, for now, can only say “Amen, Sara”. We love you still and will strive to cherish your life-long example of Sharing Christ’s Love. Many marveled at how someone so lovely could also remain so caring as you modeled your kindergarten admonition to “play nice”.
A funeral service celebrating Sara’s life will be held 10:30 AM Saturday, July 13th at First Lutheran Church, Geneseo. Rev. Dr. Arthur Bergren will officiate. Burial will follow in Oakwood Cemetery, Geneseo. Visitation for Sara will be 4-7 PM Friday at First Lutheran Church. Memorials may be left to the First Lutheran Church, in Sara’s honor, or the Geneseo Food Pantry. Vandemore Funeral Home, Geneseo is assisting the family with arrangements.
Sara was born April 13, 1937 in Pittsfield, IL, the daughter of Joseph T. and Lilly (Prather) Connelly. She was a graduate of PORTA High School in Petersburg, IL and a 1959 graduate of the University of Illinois. Sara was united in marriage to Richard E. Carlson on May 8, 1960 in Petersburg, IL. She was a kindergarten teacher, primarily, for the Moline School District for 25 years.
Sara was an active member of First Lutheran Church in Geneseo. She was a board member and a teacher for the First Lutheran Church Pre-School and assisted with the Faithtime Kids group of the church. Sara supported the Humane Society and was a member of the Geneseo Food Pantry Board for several years. She was one of the prime organizers and workers at the Pantry’s Summer Lunch Program for children. Sara also helped start a tutoring program in Geneseo and at Atkinson schools. People continue telling other ways Sara helped them.
Survivors include her husband, Richard; 4 sons: Peter (Susan) Carlson of Palatine, IL, Andy (Tess) Carlson of Kenosha, WI, Jeffrey (Kristen) Carlson of Glennwood, CO, and Erik (Amy) Carlson of Homewood, IL; 7 grandchildren: Tyler, Riley, Holden, Harrison, Isabel, Isaac, and Sydney; and 1 sister: Jane Montgomery of Macomb, IL.
Sara loved without restraint: God, her husband, her children, and grandchildren, and her multitude of friends. Sara also loved animals, especially live cats and stuffed bears (for kindergarten teddy bears’ picnic). She loved color and wore them all well, especially bright red. Sara also loved chocolate (and sharing it). She loved flowers, especially sunflowers of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Simply put: Sara loved.
Sara did not like people who abused children or animals. She did not like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, disorientation, and pain.
Sara was preceded in death by her parents, 1 brother, Joseph Jr., and 1 sister, Ann Gray.
Sara’s family thanks her chocolate-loving friends at Hammond-Henry‘s Emergency Room, 3rd floor folks and the Long-Term Care Unit as well as her friends at Good Samaritan Village and the Home Health Care Angels. We are only sorry that most of you never gained the full warmth of Sara’s vibrancy before dementia took over. Thanks also to her other doctors and their staffs, especially, Dr. Wachtel for helping Sara keep all of her teeth (a small vanity is allowed).