Geraldine Corinne (Palmer) Carlson was born on November 1, 1930 in Alexandria, Minnesota, the eldest child of Roy A. and Cora (Bergner) Palmer. Before school-age, Geraldine enjoyed playing (over and over) a record, “The Laughing Song” on the wind-up phonograph. This record mysteriously disappeared one day. She also enjoyed visits with her grandparents Bergner. There were always books in the home, not many shelves full, but if time fell heavy and the book could be understood, there were books to read.
Geraldine attended a Douglas County rural one-room schoolhouse, District 107, through the greater part of second grade. When the family moved to Fargo, Geraldine attended North Fargo Elementary, Agassiz Elementary and Junior High before the family moved to Ohio. While the family lived in Ohio, Geraldine attended school in Vandalia where there was roller skating on the residential sidewalks, the sloping ramp walks at the school, and ice skating at the school skating rink. The children had most childhood illnesses except smallpox. Moving to Fargo, they found “quarantine” signs up in the windows of the homes. Quarantines were placed on homes if a resident had certain specified infectious diseases and this was done to prevent wide-spread of diseases.
Upon the family’s return to Minneapolis Minnesota, Geraldine attended school in Minneapolis, before they came back to Douglas County. She graduated from Alexandria High School in 1948 as a member of the National Honor Society. She participated in one of the school plays, served as her senior class treasurer and on the staff of the yearbook. While in high school Geraldine worked at Osterberg’s Café and the Andria Theatre as “popcorn girl.” During the summer of ’48 she worked at Montgomery Ward’s in their catalog order office and temporarily at Woolworth’s. Having worked in the summer, and having saved money, she then went job hunting in Minneapolis and began work at the Bloomington Lake State Bank, a branch bank, in the bookkeeping department.
In late 1950, with a friend and co-worker, Geraldine left for California to find employment and possibly attend an art school. She and her friend each found a job within the first day, each at a different branch of the same bank system. A room, then a small apartment was shared by the friends. Geraldine worked at a branch in Beverly Hills, but stayed there for less than a year. Returning to Minnesota and then moving to Cedar Rapids, IA, in March of 1951. Geraldine began working for Northwestern Bell. It was in Cedar Rapids that Geraldine reconnected with the love of her life, Chuck Carlson, who she had met in Alexandria when both were 15 years old. They had dated and written letters back and forth. Their last date had been in September of 1950 when Geraldine left for California.
On Mother’s Day 1951 they got engaged, and on September 9, 1951, Geraldine married Charles “Chuck” Ellsworth Carlson at the English Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Minnesota. Chuck was employed by Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids and the couple lived in a suburb, Marion, IA for several years in a “trailer” in a “trailer park.” Geraldine quit working within a few months after their marriage and from that time on, she worked only occasionally outside of the home.
Geraldine and Chuck moved back to Minnesota in July 1953 and lived in the Minneapolis area. Children born to Gerry and Chuck are Regan Lee, Laura Gay, Julie Ann and Steven Jay. They raised their family primarily in their home in Fridley. The couple moved in 1978 and for 13 years, owned and operated Kaldahl’s Resort, near Glenwood, Minnesota. They sold the resort in 1990 and moved to Coon Rapids, MN. For a few years prior to retirement, Geraldine worked in a local library – happy to be around books of all kind. In 1996 the couple retired and moved to Lake Moses in Millerville Township, Douglas County. There she had two stunning rock gardens & beautiful flowers in the many flower beds around the house. In 2012, Geraldine and Chuck moved to Alexandria into their new home.
Geraldine always had a passion for art. She was an accomplished painter in the decorative Norwegian folk-art of “Rosemaling.” She displayed her work at the Alexandria Senior Center and her home. The legacy of her natural talent and abilities in completed projects of Rosemaling speaks volumes. The Echo Press did an article highlighting her Rosemaling in 2017 – which was displayed at the local Sr. Center in Alexandria. Geraldine was also a seasoned self-taught genealogist and she researched and documented in depth all sides of her and Chuck’s family trees. She volunteered at the Douglas County Historical Society and assisted others in finding information on their family roots while completing extensive searches and information on her own family tree. Gerry also volunteered at the Someplace Safe Thrift Store in Alexandria.
Geraldine died on February 10, 2020 at the age of 89, at Bethany on the Lake in Alexandria. She is survived by Chuck, her husband of 68 years; children and their spouses Regan (Jeff) , Laura (Bill) , Julie (Danny), and Steven (Theresa) Carlson; five grandchildren, Gina, Tyler, Brett, Colin and Clayton; four great grandsons, William, Jonathan, Keenan and Ethan; brothers Dale (Carol) Palmer, Donald (Dorothy) Palmer and many nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of life will be held July 23, 2021 @11am with visitation from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. at the Anderson Funeral Home.