Ralph Arnold Carlson

August 20, 1939January 20, 2021
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Ralph Arnold Carlson, age 81, of St. Simons Island, Georgia and formerly of West Brookfield and Wilbraham, Massachusetts, passed away Wednesday, January 20, 2021 on St. Simons Island.

Ralph was one of four children born to Stewart and Gertrude (Petersen) Carlson. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, obtaining a BS in geology and later a MBA in marketing. He first worked as a product manager for General Foods in White Plains, NY, then Vice President and Account Manager for SSC&B Lintas Advertising in New York City. From there he worked for Spalding Sports Worldwide where he served as VP and General Manager for 27 years. While at Spalding Sports, his primary focus was in the licensing department where he made the name of Spalding a household name worldwide. His final position was with the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts where he managed the EDC Board of Director’s Marketing Committee.

Ralph was a member of, and held board member positions in many corporate organizations including the Sporting Goods Manufacturer’s Association, Golf Ball Manufactures Association, Association of Golf Club Manufactures, the Baseball and Softball Manufacture’s Association and Etonic Shoe Company. He was also active in several non-profit organizations including Wilbraham United Church, Evangelical Covenant Church, Western Massachusetts Regional Technology Association and the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts. In addition, Ralph served on various civic association committees. Ralph loved his Lord and Savior and was always active in any church to which he belonged. He also loved his family and was a very humble and sweet man. Ralph was a member of Evangelical Covenant Church where he served as vice-chairman of the executive committee, deacon and chair of the deacon board. He was also a member of St. Simons Community Church.

Ralph loved traveling, golf, skiing, boating, fishing and watching all kinds of sports, especially the Green Bay Packers, University of Wisconsin teams and the Patriots. After vacationing on St. Simons Island, Ralph and his wife, Sandy, moved to St Simons in 2009. The couple continued to spend summers at their lake home in Massachusetts, but always looked forward to returning to their beloved St. Simons Island. Ralph is survived by his wife of 58 years, Sandra Tuhus Carlson, of St. Simons Island; a son, Mark Carlson and wife Jen of West Brookfield, MA; a daughter, Kari Belcastro and fiancé Jon, of Longmeadow, MA; grandchildren, Brett and Paige Belcastro and Chase Carlson; a great granddaughter, Olivia Thompson, a brother, Jim Carlson and wife Ellen of Milwaukee, WI and his beloved dog, Bailey. In addition to his parents, two older brothers preceded Ralph in death.

Funeral services will be held Saturday at 2:00 pm in the Chapel of Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home with Chaplain Billy Barrow officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Georgia Hospice Care, 777 Gloucester Street, #303, Brunswick, GA 31520 or to the Parkinson’s Foundation, 1359 Broadway Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018.

The family would like to thank the entire staff at Thrive and GA Hospice Care for the wonderful care they gave Ralph.


  • Visitation

    Saturday, January 23, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, January 23, 2021


Ralph Arnold Carlson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sandra Shea

February 2, 2021

Dear Sandy,

We were so very sorry to hear of Ralph's passing. He was a wonderful host and terrific conversationalist. We always enjoyed time spent with him and will remember him fondly giving commentary as we toured your lake. Please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

Bill and Sandy Shea

carol and richard hausamann

January 26, 2021

Dear Sandy and Family,
So sorry to hear of Ralph's passing. Carol and I enjoyed several years of time spending with you. I remember the day when Ralph shot a hole in one on the 5th hole of Wilbraham Country Club. We will always remember Ralph as a sweet and kind man. We send our deepest sympathy to you and your family.
With peace and love,
Richard and Carol Hausamann

Aggie and Pat Sterlacci

January 24, 2021

Dear Sandy, We are so sorry to hear about Ralph's passing. We have fond memories of Ralph from our time at Evangelical Covenant Church together. He was a fine, Christian gentleman. We will be praying for you and your family at this difficult time. God bless you.
Love, Aggie and Pat Sterlacci

Jim Carlson

January 23, 2021

Jim Carlson

January 23, 2021

Jody Harris

January 23, 2021

I miss Ralph's wit and infectious personality. It was a blessing to be in his presence. I so enjoyed the times we played golf together. It was also a special pleasure the time a bunch of us went to Charlotte, NC to volunteer at the Operation Christmas Child distribution center. Ralph helped make it fun and helped us appreciate serving in the name of Jesus. May he rest in peace.

Jim Carlson

January 22, 2021

Remembering Ralph
By Jim Carlson
When I was little, my brothers were my idols – Don, Earl and Ralph. But Ralph was the closest in age to me, five and a half years older, while the others were closer to adulthood. So he became more of a companion, like on our summer vacations when we would go to a rented cabin in the northwoods of Wisconsin. Of course, any potential fishing trip meant watering our lawn in Wauwatosa the day before leaving so we could spend the dusk hunting for bait – filling a coffee can with nightcrawlers to take along.
Up north, I recall the excitement of walks in the woods with Ralph, looking for deer, and the mornings when my dad liked to hit the water early. We would head out soon after dawn, firing up the old Scott-Atwater outboard and pointing the rented rowboat toward the best spots to try.
I was about 10 when we packed up the car and I learned that Ralph had gotten a summer job and couldn’t come with us this time. The news came as a shock. I’m sure my mom and dad sensed how subdued I became as we drove north to the cabin on the water.
I can still picture myself at the beach, wading out and focusing on the distant sky so they wouldn’t see the tears streaming down my face. It took a while, but I had to accept the new reality of our relationship.
One day the next summer, I was with a friend at Hart park playing strikeout, where you pitch a tennis ball at a strike zone chalked on a brick wall and the batter tries his best to hit it. A couple older guys came wandering along and started making nasty remarks and trying to intimidate us. We were getting scared about what they might do when – here comes Ralph walking over, looking for us.
He immediately knew what was going on and confronted those guys. I don’t know what he told them, but they took off right away and left us alone. That was Ralph, our protector.
He probably wouldn’t even remember the incident.
But it stuck with me always -- part of the deep brotherly love that will never go away.

Thaquanna Cannon

January 20, 2021

I was pleased and honored to meet Mr Ralph at thrive he was a very sporty guy and one of the funniest guys I knew there he will be truly missed by me and his family on MC thanks for sharing him with us it was a joy knowing and taking care of him 😇



Ralph Arnold Carlson was known as many things to many people. He was a loved one, a friend, and someone special. To family and friends who knew him best, Ralph will be remembered as a very exceptional person.

       He was the son of Stewart and Gertrude Carlson. Ralph grew up in Wauwatosa, WI.

      Ralph was raised with 3 brothers. Ralph's older siblings were Don and Earl and Jim who was younger. Ralph was involved in all sorts of activities with his family in the northwoods of Wisconsin. He and his siblings shared many life experiences over the years and he was known as a companion and protector.

      As a young boy, Ralph had a number of interests. Like most children, he enjoyed boating and fishing and all things around the water and woods. He was curious about the world around him and was often eager to explore it. Ralph was an active child who took part in basketball and scouting. In his spare time he liked biking and baseball (Milwaukee Braves).

      A typical teenager, Ralph had a happy high school experience, making that critical transition from adolescence to adulthood, gaining many friends along the way. He graduated from Wauwatosa East High School in 1957.

      Ralph enjoyed his college years, which may have been a challenge with all of the academics, job responsibilities, and the sudden freedom that accompanied them, but Ralph was able to manage the balancing act. He earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison 1962. He also pursued graduate school, earning his MBA, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison 1965. His favorite courses were in marketing. Following his BS degree, Ralph assisted another graduate student on a fellowship studying the sandstone nugget from Arizona to Montana.

      Always considered a “good” friend to those he knew, Ralph enjoyed a broad group of acquaintances and several very close friends during his lifetime. While growing up, some of his best friends were Billy Martin, Jim Barg, Ray and Ted. Later in life, he became friends with too many to name. He had friends at work, at church, and everywhere he went. He was a friendly and very likeable guy.

      On May 19, 1962 Ralph exchanged wedding vows with Sandra Elizabeth Tuhus at Bethel Luthern Church, Madison, WI. Ambitious and loyal, Ralph was committed to making his new family happy. He worked hard to be a good father to his children and he did his best to fulfill their needs. Ralph was blessed with 2, Mark and Kari. Another blessing for Ralph was the gift of 3 grandchildren, Brett, Paige and Chase and 1 great grandchild, Olivia, all who he adored.

      Fortunately, Ralph enjoyed what he did for a living. Showing a strong work ethic, Ralph worked diligently and did his best to succeed in his career. His primary occupation was marketing. He was employed for 27 years for Spalding Sports Worldwide with the last several years as Vice President of licensing. Ralph always sought to be a team player, going above and beyond, doing what was necessary in order to get the job done with excellence.

      Ralph enjoyed his leisure time by taking part in various hobbies. His favorite pursuits were water and snow skiing, golf, boating, fishing and traveling. He was passionate about spending time with family and friends.

      Ralph found pleasure in sports. Ralph was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed following his favorite events whenever he had the chance to do so. Tops on his list were college and pro football, the University of Wisconsin and Green Bay Packers , Patriots , basketball and baseball.

      Throughout his life, Ralph was a doer and was always actively involved in professional and community organizations. Throughout his later years, Ralph was an active member and leader on many advisory boards of groups, church and business organizations related to work.

      Ralph was a man who took pride in upholding his beliefs. Politically, Ralph was a Conservative Republican.

      Ralph’s faith was important to him. He was a member of Wilbraham United Church for 16 years, Evangelical Covenant for 20 years and St. Simons Community Church for 11 years. During that time, he was vice-chairman of the executive committee, deacon and chair of the deacon board. Ralph also enjoyed Bible study and home groups.

      Though he never set out to gain individual recognition, Ralph was given accolades for his many and varied accomplishments throughout his life. Some of his most prestigious awards included his numerous business awards.

      Ralph enjoyed traveling and time away on vacations. It was a chance for him to renew and relax, to travel and experience new things. Favorite vacations included the Holy Land and exploring the Greek Isles on a schooner boat.

      Ralph was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. One of his favorites was a Havenese/ Highland Terrier named " Bailey". They were best friends for 5 years. He previously had 2 poodles, one for 11 years and one for 16 years.

      When Ralph’s retirement finally arrived in January 1, 2007, he was well prepared. Ralph retired on St. Simons Island, GA. In retirement, he found new pleasure in golfing, boating and time on St. Simons and summers in W. Brookfield, MA. Even in retirement, Ralph continued to stay in touch with his old friends while making plenty of new acquaintances. Ralph was active in his community and felt fulfilled with the opportunities retirement offered him.

      Ralph passed away on January 20, 2021 at Thrive at Frederica. He is survived by his wife, Sandra, children, Mark and Kari, 3 grand and 1 great grandchild. He has a brother, Jim still living. Services were held at Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home Chapel. Ralph will be laid to rest in Woodland Dell Cemetery in Wilbraham, MA.

      Simply stated, Ralph was a good and kind person, an individual who will for all time be remembered by his family and friends as being a caring and giving person, someone who was a vital part of their lives. Ralph leaves behind him a legacy of life-long friendships and many cherished memories. Everyone whose life he touched will always remember Ralph Arnold Carlson.