Lillian Carlson

COLUMBUS — Lillian Lena Carlson, 100, of Columbus, died Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, at her home at Prairie Village in Columbus.

Graveside services will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the Gruetli Cemetery, rural Monroe, with Pastor Adam Lassen officiating. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at Gass Haney Funeral Home in Columbus. Memorials are suggested to St. Luke's United Church of Christ.

Lillian Balmer Gillett Carlson was born Aug. 2, 1917, to Fred and Lillie (Blaser) Balmer in rural Platte County. She grew up attending District #8 School. The family moved to the Monroe area where she attended District #37 School and finished ninth and 10th grades at Monroe High School. She vacationed in Carlton, Oregon, that summer and stayed to finish junior and senior years at Carlton High where she graduated in 1935. Lillian spent 1936 in Whitter, California, where she worked as a nanny and house maid. In 1937, she returned to Columbus and was united in marriage to Charles Gillett in 1938. To this union one son was born, Gary.

The family returned to Oregon during World War II until elderly parents' illness brought them home to Nebraska. While in Oregon, Lillian was employed in freezing and canning food plants. She also enjoyed helping to harvest hops, fruits, nuts and berries, and also worked as a field boss overseer and checker.

Back in Columbus, Lillian was employed at Dale Products for seven years. Charles died suddenly in 1959. Lillian married Bob Carlson on Nov. 21, 1959, in Fairmont, Minnesota. The couple resided in Cedar Rapids, where they operated a fertilizer plant. The couple enjoyed traveling, with a trip to Switzerland to see her father’s homeland being the highlight of her travels. Lillian did care work for the elderly while living in Cedar Rapids.

The couple retired and moving back to Columbus in 1999. Lillian was a lifelong member of Gruetli Church. She was one of four little girls to be baptized by the Rev. Brown at the first baptism in the “new little white church.” Lillian has seen eight generations of her family from her great-great-grandfather Nick Blaser to great-great-grandchildren of her own. The good Lord granted her a long life.

Lillian’s main interest was her church. She was in the Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids and Gruetli and St. Luke’s United Church of Christ in Columbus, where she enjoyed teaching and singing and was a member of the ladies groups. Lillian enjoyed traveling, gardening, canning, baking, fishing, metal detecting and hunting for Indian artifacts.

Lillian is survived by her son Gary (Lucy) Gillett of Moleno, Florida, grandson David (Margaret) Gillett of Tennessee, granddaughter Karrie (Mike) Wallace of Daphne, Alabama, grandson Robert (Marlo) Gillett of Atlanta, 10 great-grandchildren, five great-great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Lillian was preceded in death by her parents Fred and Lillie Balmer; first husband Charles Gillett; second husband Robert Carlson; brothers Reinhold (Catherine) Balmer, the Rev. Clarence (Nancy Balmer Wolff) Balmer and infant Bernard Balmer; and sisters Esther (Ray) Mihulka and Lorena (Howard) Wilson.

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