Marcus Eugene Carlson, 72, of Kalispell, died on Jan. 21, 2022, in Phoenix from complications after a double lung transplant due to IPF. He passed away peacefully and was surrounded by the love of his family by him.
Marc was born in Rockford, Illinois, on Nov. 27,1949, to Donald and Betty Carlson. As a young man, he enjoyed Scouting, especially camping and canoe trips in Wisconsin and in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. He and his family di lui were active members at Salem Lutheran Church, where he was confirmed. His family di lui went on summer vacation trips together, visiting many areas of the country. Marc graduated from Rockford East High School in 1967 and then went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northern Illinois University in 1973.
In the summer of 1969 while working at the Chicle Gum Factory, Marc met the love of his life, Jeanne Benkovich, of Roscoe, Illinois. After a few years of long distance dating while attending different universities, they tied the knot on Aug. 18, 1973, in Rockton, Illinois. Marc and Jeanne were happily married for 48 years! They made their first big move from Rockford in 1975 to attend graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. Marc completed his studies there and received a master’s degree in school psychology. While in graduate school, Marc made lifelong friends and learned the importance of building community. After attaining his degree in 1977, Marc hopped on the train heading west for a job interview as a school psychologist in Kalispell. He got the job! He worked in School District 5 for 34 years, retiring in 2011. Throughout his career di lui he worked with children of all ages and abilities, dedicating himself to building positive and respectful relationships with them. On behalf of the teaching staff of District 5, Marc served as head spokesperson with the negotiation team for the Kalispell Education Association for many years.
Once in Montana, Marc and Jeanne started their great Western adventure full of family, friends, community and beautiful Montana landscapes. In time they had four children, Ture, Evan, Eric and Annie, whom they raised in their home on the Flathead River in the beautiful farmland area of Creston, near Kalispell. Marc shared his enthusiasm and appreciation of nature and the outdoors with his children through hiking, hunting, downhill skiing, cross country skiing and picnicking with them over the years. Some of the family’s favorite hiking spots were in the Jewel Basin, Glacier Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness area. When Ture and Evan wanted to learn to downhill ski, he thought he would learn too! Through a class at Flathead Valley Community College, he learned to ski, developing a lifelong passion. He went on to ski with Eric and Annie as well, and spent many fun days together. In addition to skiing with his own family, he taught ski lessons with the Kalispell Ski Club, DREAM Adaptive Skiing Program and Special Olympics on Big Mountain in Whitefish. Marc was a ski coach for special education students at Kalispell Middle School for many years, celebrating their skiing accomplishments culminating in the Special Olympics Winter Games on the mountain every year.
After retirement, Marc and Jeanne enjoyed traveling to visit their adult children, far and near. Marc loved his family about him. He was a quiet, intelligent man who expressed his wisdom about him often with a witty, dry sense of humor. He loved to spend time with his colleagues and friends, having lots of fun and laughter. As a diehard Chicago Cubs fan, Marc was so happy when the team won the World Series Championship in 2016.
Marc and Jeanne were charter members of Northridge Lutheran Church and valued their faith and relationships with their church family. Marc took an active part in his faith journey of him. He was admired for his listening ear and considerate, thoughtful speaking, holding his comments by him to meaningful things. Words were very important and he chose them wisely.
During Marc’s final years, he and his family experienced an outpouring of generosity and love from their extended Carlson and Benkovich families, friends, neighbors, the Northridge Lutheran Church family, and the Flathead community. The family would like to give their sincere thanks to everyone that helped them travel to Phoenix for Marc’s lung transplant, tended to their home and garden while they were away, brought and cooked them nourishing food, and supported Marc and family with thoughts and prayers. The love and support has been overwhelming and the family is so grateful. The family would also like to thank Marc’s medical team at Rocky Mountain Heart and Lung in Kalispell and the Norton Thoracic Institute Medical Team in Phoenix for their excellent, skilled and compassionate care of Marc and our family.
Marc is survived by his wife Jeanne (Kalispell); children Ture (partner Lauren Hopley, Melbourne, Australia), Evan (partner Alex Chavez, Oxnard, California), Eric (wife Jessi Mullowney and daughter Retta, Butte), and Annie (Kalispell); his sisters Gwen Bildahl (husband Richard, Rockford) and Donna Welden (Gallatin, Tennessee); niece Carrie Summers and family (Rockford), nephew Brian Shimaitis (wife Suzanne and family, Gallatin) and Benkovich family in-laws, niece and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at Northridge Lutheran Church in Kalispell on June 28 at 11 am, when the sun is warm and the grass is green. A private family inurnment of Marc’s ashes, will be held at a separate time.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in Marc’s name may be sent, if desired, to Northridge Lutheran Church, the DREAM program, or the Kalispell Ski Club.