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Harold Carlson ’39

March 13, 2017, in Los Altos, California.

At the age of 100 years, 1 month, and 11 days, Harold took his final flight. He attributed his longevity to dark chocolate and well-chosen parents—Swedish immigrants Sven and Inanna Carlson, who instilled in him a sense of honesty, tenacity, kindness, and humor.

After attending Reed for a year, he was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy. Upon graduation from the academy, he entered WWII and became an accomplished naval aviator, renowned for his many heroic missions in North Korea, most notably the Carlson’s Canyon Campaign. After 21 years of naval service, he retired as a commander, having earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. He settled his family in the Bay Area, where he had a 20-plus-year career as an aeronautical engineer at Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Harold had a lifelong passion for education and received an MBA from the University of Santa Clara, an MS from the University of Southern California, a master’s from Stanford University, and a diploma in social science from the University of Stockholm. He kept his mind sharp by taking college-level courses well into his 90s. He and his wife, Isabel, traveled extensively during their 63-year marriage. He is survived by his children, Robert, Catherine, Mary, Elizabeth, and William.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2017

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