Ralph T. Carlson
July 14th, 2022

Carlson, Ralph T, age 86 of Minnetonka, peacefully passed away from natural causes, surrounded by his family, who dearly love him, on July 14th, 2022. He was born in Orange, New Jersey on September 17th, 1935, to Harry and Ingrid Carlson.

Ralph was the definition of Faith, Family, and Freedom. He was most known for his commanding voice and presence, his propensity to get to know everybody around him, and his never-ending mission to be always helping someone.
He spent 33 years in service to the United States Air Force (and another 10 as a safety inspector and trainer with the FAA). His military career included 12 years on Active Duty as both Enlisted and Officer, as well as a full-time member of the Air Force Reserve. During his career, he flew 10 different aircraft including the B-47, B-25, B-52, C-5, C-119; and his personal favorite the C-130. He received numerous awards that include the Legion of Merit, the Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, and Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

During his career, he achieved the rank of Colonel (O-6), was Commander of the 305th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Selfridge ANGB, Michigan; Commander, 934th Tactical Airlift Group and Twin Cities Air Force Reserve Base, Minneapolis, MN; Director of Operations, Air Force Reserve Headquarters, Robins AFB, Georgia; Commander, 514th Military Airlift Wing, McGuire AFB, Georgia; Commander, 512th Military Airlift Wing, Dover AFB, Delaware. He served as the National President of the Reserve Officers Association. Colonel Carlson retired from the United States Air Force in 1985.

Ralph is survived by daughters Sue (John) Littlefield, Wendy (Peter) Daggett; grandchildren Rebecca (Joe) Harpel, Dustin (Anna) Littlefield, Emily (Philip) Sendelbach, Samuel Daggett, Corrin Daggett; 11 Great-grandchildren; and sister Sylvia Busold.

A Celebration of Life Service was held Sunday the 14th of August, 2:00 PM at Watertown Evangelical Free church in Watertown, Minnesota. There was a visitation from 1-2 PM prior to the service. A Committal Service with military honors was held Monday the 15th of August, 1:00 PM at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Assembly Area 3.

RSVP for the Celebration of Life Service at http://evite.me/BwR42hsbHj. The service will be live-streamed and available for later viewing at the Watertown Evangelical Free Church youtube channel. If you have a special memory of Ralph it would mean so much to the family if you could send it to ralphcarlsonmemories@gmail.com.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Ralph’s honor to Wounded Warrior Project or Camp Confidence MN.