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John R. Carlson

May 7, 1955 ~ August 11, 2021 (age 66)



John R. Carlson, 66, of rural Essex, Iowa, peacefully entered into eternal rest on Wednesday morning, August 11, 2021,  surrounded by family at his home.  Celebration of life funeral services will be held on Monday, August 16, 2021 at 2:00 pm at New Beginnings Church in Shenandoah with Pastor Randall Gant officiating.  The family will greet relatives and friends with viewing and visitation Sunday afternoon from 3:00 to 6:00 pm at the funeral home.  Open viewing will take place on Sunday from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  Burial will be in the Essex Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, memorials in John's name are being directed to the Montgomery County Memorial Hospital Oncology and Hematology Department in Red Oak (to be used for projects to help cancer patients and their families).


John Raymond Carlson, son of Raymond Rex and Ralphena Mae (Wooden) Carlson, was born on May 7, 1955 in Shenandoah, Iowa.  He was raised on the family farm outside of Bethesda where he enjoyed working with livestock, farming, his friends and being adored by his four sisters.

He attended the Essex Community Schools, where John excelled at sports, especially football, in which he earned a scholarship to play at Tarkio College.  He graduated from Essex High School with the Class of 1973.  He attended and played football briefly at Tarkio but returned to Essex to pursue his true passion of farming.

His other passion was his six children.  He loved caring for them, supporting them in their activities and spoiling them.  On July 9, 1994, John married the love of his life, Peggy Lea Martin.  With their blessed union came three more children for John to love and spoil just the same. 

Many years were spent by John in and supporting 4-H, as a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Essex, and most recently the Bellevue Christian Center.  He loved agriculture and the highlight of his career was the time he shared farming alongside his greatest friends.  For John though, there was no time more valuable than the time he shared with his beloved wife, especially traveling and oftentimes, the road less traveled.

Strength and faith helped John face and overcome several health battles in recent years, but he lost his battle with cancer at the age of 66 years, surrounded by his family on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at his home outside of Essex.

Preceding John in death were his parents, Raymond and Ralphena Carlson; infant son, John R. Carlson; father and mother-in-law, Clifton and Genevieve Martin; sister, Beverly Blount; brother-in-law, Don Martin; niece, Vanessa Caviness; and nephew, Luke Martin.

While those of us left to mourn his loving compassion, kindness and bear hugs on earth… we rejoice that he’s with his Savior in eternity.   Survivors include his wife and best friend of 27 years, Peggy Carlson of Essex, IA and their loyal and loving Australian Shepherd, Blu; children, Stacey and Vashoune Russell of Urbana, IL, Heather and Jake Polsley of Clarinda, IA, Heidi and Charles Pool of Denison, TX, Spencer and Jay Williams of Malvern, IA; Nicholas and Erinn Carlson of Pryor, OK, Kasey and Jolynn Carlson of Council Bluffs, IA, Jenni and Joe Martin of Shenandoah, IA, Annie and Tom Crimmins of Papillion, NE and Spencer and Melinda Carlson of Austin, TX; grandchildren, Trey Russell and McKenzie Johnson, Tanner Russell, Drake Polsley, Dominick Polsley, Jackson Pool, Ryder Pool, Ali Honnold, Kyler Williams, Brynn Williams, Jacob and Kelsey Carlson, Zachary and Chandler Carlson, Ciera Carlson, Bowdrie Carlson, Zoey Carlson, Taylor Carlson, Finnley Carlson, Emma and Brett Roberts, Riley Martin, J J Martin, Marlowe Martin, Elowyn Crimmins, Mara Carlson and Sophia Carlson; three sisters, Rebecca Greer of Omaha, NE, Linda and Tom Chapeau of Omaha, NE and Barbara Caviness of Essex, IA; brother-in-law, Bill and Debbie Martin of Clarinda, IA; sisters-in-law, Vickie and Martin Barnes of Braddyville, IA and Francie Martin of Clarinda, IA.  He also leaves behind great grandchildren; nieces, nephews and cousins; and countless friends.



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John R. Carlson, please visit our floral store.


Open Viewing
August 15, 2021

12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Funeral Service

Visitation and Viewing
August 15, 2021

3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Funeral Service

Celebration of Life Funeral Service
August 16, 2021

2:00 PM
New Beginnings Church
705 6th Ave
Shenandoah, IA 51601

Graveside Service
August 16, 2021

3:00 PM
Essex Cemetery
1450 E Ave
Essex, IA 51638


MCMH Oncology and Hematology Department
2301 Eastern Ave, Red Oak IA 51566
Tel: 1-712-623-7000

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