Obituary: Francis Jay Carlson

Courtesy photo

Francis Jay Carlson was born Nov. 6, 1939, in Mt. Pleasant, Utah.  He was the first of three sons born to Francis W. and Ada Jensen Carlson. Jay spent his early years in Mt. Pleasant attending Wasatch Academy until his freshman year in high school, when the family moved to Kerns, Utah. He attended Cyprus High School, where he excelled at football, being named to the Utah All State team. After graduating, he attended Snow College and transferred to Utah State University. In 1962, Jay married Kathleen Walk. They had three children, Suzan Truluck (Sutton), Vickie Wurtz (Glen) and Peter Jay (Tisha).

Jay was drafted and inducted into the Army on Feb. 20, 1963. He served as a military policeman in Germany until his honorable discharge in 1965. After being discharged, Jay returned to Utah State where he received his degree in Range Management, with a minor in Animal Science and Botany in 1969. Jay was very proud of returning to college and receiving his degree. 

In 1985, Jay married Corliss Poindexter and they began the process of combining two families. He was a Dad to Tony, Debbie and Emily, and played a very important part in their lives as an example and as a loving Dad.

Jay began his career with the Forest Service as a seasonal employee in the summer of 1967. He was hired as a full-time range conservationist in 1969. He served in various capacities on the Cache and Dixie national forests, until he was transferred to the Bridger -eton National Forest as district ranger of the Big Piney District. (Some of you may remember it as the Big Piney Animal Farm). Jay remained on the Big Piney District until 1985 when he was transferred to the Wapiti District on the Shoshone National Forest as district ranger. He remained on the Wapiti until his retirement in 1994. One of the greatest joys Jay experienced in his career was mentoring young Forest Service employees. He followed their careers and took great pride in their achievements. They became his “kids.”

After retiring from the Forest Service, Jay worked for several years with Tope Construction in Cody, and then in 2004 he went to work for William H. Smith & Associates in Gillette. Jay enjoyed his years working with his close friends John and Will Dolnar. Jay served on the Cody Chamber of Commerce, was a member of the Cody Elks Club and spearheaded the Forest Service Centennial Celebration in 1991. One of the highlights of his time on the Shoshone was meeting and having a campfire dinner with George H. W. Bush the year he was nominated for president of the United States. Another high

was in '88 when he was able to get the tree at Camp Monaco removed from Samberry Meadow and taken to the Buffalo Bill Museum.

Jay was a member of Big Piney Lodge#42 AF&AM. 

Jay lived and enjoyed life to its fullest. He was known by many and loved by some. His passing leaves a gigantic hole in the lives of his family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis W. and Ada Carlson, niece Celeste Swanson, nephew Cody Carlson and great-nephew Gabriel Anderson.

Jay is survived by his wife Corliss, his children Suzan, Vickie, Pete, Tony, Debbie and Emily, 16 grandchildren and soon-to-be 12 great-grandchildren, his brother Gary (Sandy), brother-in-law Mark Mickelson (Diane), sister-in-law Millie Abernathy (Tom), numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews and many friends.

Go rest high on the mountain, Jay. You will be missed.