Reverend Harold Eldon Carlson, known to his friends and community as “Pastor Johnny” went to be with our Lord on August 22, 2018 at the age of 88. He had been a resident most recently in Tustin but a long time resident of Hemet, Burbank and Anaheim.
Johnny is survived by his daughter, Diana Carlson and his son and daughter-in-law, John and Michelle Carlson; His grandchildren: Jillian Felver, Kaitlin Carlson, Tyler Carlson and Garrett Carlson. He is also survived by his sister, Mrs. Margaret-Ann “Peggy” Carlson.
He is predeceased by his wife of almost 62 years, Rilla, who was his partner in music, ministry and fellowship.
Johnny was born on March 6, 1930 in Wasco, California to Harold Emil-Ludwig and Aimee Carlson and grew up in a Swedish home, Swedish being his first language. He graduated from Hollywood High School and worked his way through college working for the California and Oregon Forestry Services. He attended Mount San Antonio College then Redlands University, graduating in 1950 with his Bachelor of Arts where he met his future wife, Rilla Alice Stickney.
Johnny and Rilla were married on Sept. 4, 1954 and then left shortly thereafter to Atlanta, Georgia where Johnny attended Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Upon his graduation, he returned to Pastor in the Southern California-Pacific United Methodist Church Conference serving as a Senior Pastor for 42 years. He then served as a Minister of Visitation for various churches in Hemet where he and Rilla retired. Johnny served at United Methodist congregations in Redondo Beach, Oceanside, Hemet, West Anaheim, Upland, Westminster, Huntington Beach and Burbank throughout his 42 years. He was also involved in the United Christian Ashram, serving as an evangelist and on the National board. He was very active in the Red Cross serving as a county chair in several counties.
Johnny loved to read, travel (Europe, Scandinavia, Yosemite National Park) go camping, hiking and swimming. He loved to attend baseball games and watch the Dodgers. He enjoyed playing and watching golf, watching college football (especially USC). He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to: The Mission Society OR Ethnos360 (Formerly New Tribes Missions) in Memorium of Pastor Johnny Carlson.