Larry Carlson: Faithful for 40 Years

Athletic Facilities Manager Larry Carlson’s primary work responsibilities—setting up folding chairs, ironing uniforms, maintaining playing fields and the gym floors—haven’t exactly helped land him in the spotlight.

But whatever the job, Carlson did it for the Lord.

“To me, it’s (my) part in the puzzle, and it takes a lot of people to make a program function,” Carlson said.

After 40 years of helping Maranatha’s program function, Carlson will retire at the end of this school year.

“In my house, Larry was always referred to as ‘Faithful Larry,’ ” Charlotte Cedarholm, a friend of Carlson since 1965, said. “I don’t know of a more hardworking, selfless, faithful man than Larry.”

The Maranatha campus looks quite different than when Carlson first saw it as a member of the first student body during the 1968-69 academic year. Residence halls have been added as well as the library and Dining Complex. The student body was much smaller, making it easier to know every student. Meals were served family style; if a student were unlucky enough to land in “starvation corner,” he or she could be stuck waiting for the second round of food.

After completing his general studies degree, Carlson went on to fill multiple positions for Maranatha, including his current job.

“The Lord gave me peace about (staying),” Carlson said.

Carlson’s job includes setting up and taking down some 750-800 folding chairs every morning for chapel. With his crew of around 30 students, this takes only about 40 minutes, he said. Carlson admits to being very particular about how the chairs are set up.

“It’s got to be done right,” he said.

Carlson enjoys being able to build friendships with his student crew members that last long after graduation. “I want them to feel free to talk to me,” he said, and it seems many do. Carlson recently received a call from a former student now living in California who just needed someone to talk to. Another stayed in Carlson’s home while student teaching, and he has become “grandpa” to her children.

“The hardest thing for me about leaving Maranatha is leaving the kids,” he said.

Carlson is, however, looking forward to the free time retirement will bring.  Although he will stay in Watertown, he and wife Linda plan to do a lot of traveling. Frequent stops will include Naples, FL, to visit their son Mike and his family; and Kansas City, MO, to visit their daughter Amy and her family. The Carlsons look forward to more frequent visits with grandchildren. Carlson also plans to catch up on projects and have more time for hobbies like landscaping, gardening, and photography. He hopes to go on a missions trip with his wife while continuing to serve at his church.

Athletic Director Rob Thompson said Carlson’s work has been “predominately behind the scenes.”

“Larry Carlson has been a loyal and faithful employee these past 40 years,” Thompson said. “His knowledge of the history, legacy, students, faculty, and staff has been a valuable resource to the Athletic Department. Though Larry is retiring from his work at Maranatha, he will always be a Crusader in heart and spirit.”

–By Brynn Fitzsimmons