Leif Morgan Carlson
Leif Morgan Carlson
Leif Morgan Carlson, 83, passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, July 11, 2014, in Pelham.
Born in Perth Amboy, N.J., on Nov. 15, 1930, to Scandinavian immigrant parents, Bror Gustav Carlson and Petra Marie Nodeland, he lived a storied life and loved sharing his tales with those he met.
He earned his Eagle Scout Award. After graduating from Weehawken High School, where his love of basketball began, he “walked on” at Michigan State and earned three Varsity Letters playing for Coach Pete Newell whom he considered “the greatest coach that ever lived.”
He met the love of his life Mary Buckingham, in a chemistry class. He liked how she looked in her white sweater and they became lab partners. After college, Leif and Mary spent “six of the best years of our lives” in the Air Force, making life-long friends and more stories. Their last Air Force appointment took them to Craig AFB in Selma.
He received his MBA from The University of Alabama while his wife began her career as a biology and chemistry teacher. While at the university, he continued his love of basketball on the court coaching alongside Hayden Riley and Wimp Sanderson.
After receiving his master’s degree, they settled down to raise six children in Union Springs. He served as plant manager of The Welsh Company of the South, a Deacon, a Sunday School Teacher and sometimes a stand-in pianist at the First Presbyterian Church in Union Springs. He continued his love of basketball and baseball, as coach to his children as well as many other children in the community.
Fond of saying “the joy of life is the trip….man, what a ride,” Leif is survived by his six devoted children and their spouses, Michael of Charleston, S.C., Jeanne Parker (Larry) of Birmingham, Dirk (Pam) of Boise, Idaho, Karen (J.R.) of Atlanta, Ga., Tracy (Ashlye) of Greensboro, N.C., and Chris (Missy) of San Antonio, Texas.
He also leaves behind 12 loving grandchildren and many, many friends and trusted caregivers whose lives he touched throughout a life well-lived.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 45 years, Mary Buckingham (Sept. 26, 1997) and his grandson, Christopher Bradley Smith (April 22, 2012).
Memorial services will be held at the Alabaster First United Methodist Church of Alabaster, 10903 Hwy 119, at 11 a.m. on July 25. Following the memorial service, a gathering and lunch will be served at the church. Burial services will follow at the Alabama National Cemetery, 3133 Hwy 119, in Montevallo, at 2 p.m. Memorial donations are requested to be sent to The First United Methodist Church of Alabaster (FUMCA) with a designation for Seminary Scholarships.