Willys Carlson, age 92, died Friday, October 2, 2020 surrounded by her loving family at Dove Healthcare in Rice Lake, WI.

She was born in Rice Lake on September 29, 1928 to Hans and Ida (Jensen) Lee. Willys graduated from Rice Lake High School in 1946. After graduation, she moved to California. There, Willys did clerical type work for two years and then moved to Minneapolis where she was a Dictaphone operator. In 1948, Willys met Howard Carlson. Howard’s family moved to the Stanfold area to farm, which was just one mile from Willys parents’ farm. They went dancing on their first date at a popular dance hall called Rainbow Gardens. Willys and Howard married on October 1, 1949 and were together for the next 70 years. They lived life to the fullest and raised a beautiful family.

Willys and Howard enjoyed traveling by car, train, or bus to all areas of interest in the United States. In the 70’s, they were members of the Rice Lake Twirlers Square Dance Club. They loved square dancing! Willys led a highly active and busy life being a farmer’s wife and an amazing mom to all five of her children. Her days were filled with kids’ sports, 4-H fair projects, sewing and making beautiful quilts for her family, cooking the best meals, and baking the best desserts. A specialty of hers was making lefse! Willys was a member of the Ladies Aid group at Stanfold Lutheran Church and was a successful Avon representative for over 30 years.

Willys is survived by her five children, Nancy (Lee) Erickson of Spooner, WI, Larry (Char) Carlson of Rice Lake, Cheri (Pat) Mattmiller of Rice Lake, Randy (Pam) Carlson of Rice Lake, Barb (Charlie) Gallagher of Crete, IL; 13 grandchildren; 22 great grandchildren; two nephews, Craig (Terri) Solum of Spooner and Brent (Marcie) Solum of Wausau.

She was preceded in death by her husband Howard Carlson; parents Ida and Hans Lee; a sister and brother-in-law, Elsie and Ernie Abrams; and nephew, Lee Abrams.

Family services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, October 16, 2020 at Stanfold Lutheran Church in Rice Lake. Rev Gerald Hibbard will be officiating with interment in the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spooner. Appleyard’s Home for Funerals in Rice Lake is in charge of the arrangements.

Memorials can be sent to the Stanfold Lutheran Church Building Fund.


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