Derwith E. Carlson

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ESCANABA — Derwith E. Carlson, 75, of Escanaba, Mich., passed away on Jan. 17, 2018, at Bellin Hospital in Green Bay with his family by his side following a brief illness.

Derwith was born and raised in Chicago, Ill., the son of Raymond and Emile (Boryszewski) Carlson. Shortly after graduating high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force, serving from 1962 until he was honorably discharged in 1966 He received Commendations for Good Conduct and Marksmanship, was a veteran of the Vietnam War and was a recipient of the Purple Heart Award. After his discharge in 1966, he married Barbara Williams in Chicago.

After starting a family, they decided to move to Rapid River where Derwith had spent summers with his grandparents as a child. After several years there, Derwith (with help from Barbara) built a new house from the ground up on the north bluff in Gladstone where they raised their family.

In 1989, Derwith married Nancy (LaCarte) Carlson and they have made their home in Escanaba since then.

Derwith spent his entire career as an electrical contractor and in electronics and instrumentation. He began as an apprentice, getting his first opportunity with Hellerstedt Electric — something for which he was forever grateful. That was also the proud beginning of his membership in the IBEW Local 979. He became a journeyman electrician and eventually a master electrician before starting a couple of businesses of his own — Carlson Electric, an electrical contracting business, and BC Tech, which would focus more on instrumentation and electronics. He ended his career with BP/Plains at their facility in Rapid River. He worked until he was 70 years old — not because he had to, but because he simply loved what he did. We should all be so lucky.

In his retirement, he found a new passion, and that was volunteering in his community. It started in the schools, then as a volunteer with Community Action Agency of Delta County where, among other things, he drove patients who were not mobile to their medical appointments throughout Upper Michigan and Wisconsin and volunteering at the Delta County Courthouse. He had recently been working with the Delta County Veteran’s Service Office and found out just days before his death that he was going to be able help transport veterans to various VA hospitals. He also volunteered with the Delta County Cancer Alliance.

Derwith loved technology. He was a computer geek before we knew what a computer geek was. He was one of the first people in the area to get a satellite dish, a cell phone, the Internet, an email address, a cable modem and wireless technology. Ironically, he had to explain what these were and why they would be important to his kids — not the other way around. He was also an accomplished pianist as well as a pilot, having owned an airplane for several years. He loved the outdoors, but to him hunting and fishing were more about being with his family and friends than just hunting and fishing. He loved to sit around a campfire and was never more in his glory than when he had his family or friends sitting at his table on the patio. He will be greatly missed.

Derwith is survived by his loving wife, Nancy; three children, Michael (Kara) and their children Erin, Regan and Peyton of Green Bay, Wis.; Steven (Cindi) and their children Tucker and Saylor of Rapid River and Christine (Brad) Nelson and their children Lauren, Lily and Kelsey of Escanaba; former wife and mother of his children, Barbara (Bob) Majestic of Gladstone.

He is further survived by Nancy’s children, Jeff LaCarte and his children Melissa, Shealyn, Hailea and Ethen and Lori LaCarte and her children Daisy and Edwin.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Carl.

The family will receive friends on Monday, Jan. 22, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Skradski Family Funeral Home in Escanaba. Military honors will be presented at 3:45 p.m. by the Gladstone American Legion Post 71 and the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard. Funeral services will follow at 4 p.m. with Rev. Dr. Judy Kincaid officiating. A luncheon will be served at the Immanuel Lutheran Church following the services. Derwith will be laid to rest in the Rapid River Cemetery.

For additional information or to leave the family a message of condolence, go to www.skradskifuneralhomes.com.