Cover photo for James Richard Carlson's Obituary
James Richard Carlson Profile Photo
1939 James 2024

James Richard Carlson

May 5, 1939 — January 9, 2024


James "Jim" R. Carlson, 84, of Lexington, Nebraska, passed away in the early morning hours on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, at the Lexington Regional Health Center in Lexington after suffering a stroke at home in bed.

 Born May 5, 1939, to Rolf and Vesta Carlson, he grew up in Bertrand, NE, the third of four children (Fred, Pat, and Tim, all preceding Jim in death). Limited by the onset of chronic asthma and allergies at an early age, little "Jimmy" (he hated that) grew up mostly indoors with a passion for model-building and for reading everything he could check out from the local bookmobile. He had a special fondness for seafaring adventures like Horatio Hornblower and anything to do with railroads or history but loved to read almost anything and discuss it at the family table. Such began his lifetime disposition to knowledge and conversation. 

After graduating valedictorian of Bertrand High School, Jim started studies at what is now the University of Nebraska - Kearney but left within a year to work on an uncle's farm, and then move to California on the invitation of his sister Pat. Around this time, a correspondence with a Lexington girl, Linda Clark, began to grow more serious, and when Jim returned to Nebraska for the marriage of his brother Fred to Linda's sister Bette, their courtship began in earnest. Jim proposed to Linda, he’d say later, because she “looked like home”. They were married in Lexington on February 27, 1964, and would have celebrated their 60th anniversary next month. Surviving him also are their children: Laura Logan, Elizabeth (Matt Prezbindowski), Kate (David Koenig), and Jim (Yolanda Carlson); their grandchildren: Rachel (Josh Muzzey) and David Aaron Logan (KC Mitchell), Michael, Abby, Susannah and James Koenig, and Jack and Christina Prezbindowski; and their great-grandchildren: Kayla, Marilyn, Abel and Katy Logan, and Colton and Stella Muzzey. 

From California, four children in tow, Jim and Linda moved briefly back to Nebraska and then to Alton, IL for a job offer Jim received from Shell Oil as a Lab Technician. From there came a transfer to Houston, TX where the kids grew up and where the couple remained until Jim retired from Shell in 1996. Missing their native Nebraska and the siblings they left behind, Jim and Linda bought their first house in Lexington where they have lived and which has remained the family meeting spot for holidays and vacations ever since. 

Most peoples' first impression of Jim was that he was a know-it-all. Not in the sense that he was obnoxious and thought he knew everything, but that he really seemed to know something about and could speak intelligently on almost any topic. At the local bar Tep's, they called him "the Professor". To his daughter-in-law, he was Google before Google existed. His children were so convinced that he knew everything that when he finally missed a question at Trivial Pursuit, they could be persuaded by him that the game itself was wrong (but it's okay the next person could take their turn anyway). He had a competitive streak and could stare darts through you if you missed his cue as his partner in cards, and he didn't suffer fools if someone insisted on spouting nonsense around him. He despised willful ignorance more than anything. Even so, he was never insulting or condescending. He just didn’t dumb it down for you either.

To his family though, Jim was above everything a devoted and gentle husband, father, and grandfather. He was as in love with Linda at the end as he was when they were married, and through his affection never stopped showing it. If there was conflict in the family he could sometimes be passive to a fault, but his kids and grandkids also knew him to be endlessly accommodating, kind, wise, and patient. He was our rock and will be missed terribly.

Throughout his life Jim maintained his love of books and of building things: model ships, planes, and train sets; dollhouses for his girls; furniture and cabinets for the house, etc. He had impressive collections of coins, beer steins, and penguins (the origin of that being a joke he used to tell with the punchline, “Oh my God, I’ve shot a nun!”). He was proud of his Swedish heritage and loved all things Nebraska, sharing in the state religions for Nebraska Football and Volleyball particularly. He was an enormous fan of classic movies and collected those too. On his last night at home he sat with Linda and their daughters Kate and Liz and watched one of his favorites, “State Fair” from 1945, chatting away with them about the actors and movie trivia. We know he couldn’t have been more in his element or wanted to be anywhere else.

Jim's tradition for funerals was to always wear his Viking socks, which he said was to help send the departed off to Valhalla. Please help us send Jim to Valhalla by joining us (with or without your Viking socks) on Saturday, February 24, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. at the Immanuel Church in Bertrand, Nebraska, with Pastor John Strackbein, officiating.

Inurnment will be held at Immanuel Cemetery in Bertrand, Nebraska.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are kindly suggested to the family or to be donated to the crowd funding page seen below to assist the family.

Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. Please share online condolences with the family by visiting:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Richard Carlson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Immanuel Church & Adullam

404 Medina Ave, Bertrand, NE 68927

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