Rick Carlson, 70, of West Fargo, N.D., formerly of Lancaster, Minn., took his final checkered flag. I always appreciated his enthusiasm toward life. He loved challenges. Despite his health issues, he made the most of everything each day of his life. One word that describes Rick is “determination.” He was hardworking, cheerful; he always had a story to tell with wisdom and a smile. You were a champion!
Richard Harley Carlson was born to Harley and Doris (Nordin) Carlson in Hallock, Minn., on Nov. 12, 1952. He grew up in Lancaster and graduated from Lancaster High School in 1970. He went on to tech school in Thief River Falls, Minn., graduating from the aircraft mechanics program. He then went on to Moorhead State University, Moorhead, Minn., and graduated from the industrial technology program.
He taught at the Clay County Vocational Center in Moorhead for a few years. He had many side jobs that involved his love for automobiles. At the time when Fargo had the Chevrolet zone office, he was district zone manager for the area for a number of years. When he would have to move to New Jersey, he bowed out. He then became the service adviser for Minnesota Motors in Fergus Falls, Minn. His dream of having his own shop that would specialize in carburetors and high-performance engines came about in 2001.
“Automotive Specialties” was well-known in the tri-state area and beyond. Rick was a master of his craft. Rick developed a strong work ethic at an early age, and it continued until his death. He lived life to the fullest; in younger years he enjoyed many activities; travelling, fishing, scuba diving, downhill and cross-country skiing, motorcycle trips, car races and bird hunting. Deer hunting was one of his favorite times of year. He always looked forward to gathering with the same special group of guys for 50-plus years; with lots of stories to tell.
When still attending Lancaster School, he drove his Honda Trail 90 to school all winter long with chains on the tires. One day during a snowstorm, school was let out early; Rick passed the school bus on the way home! He was known for his high-performance cars. As he got more involved with his business, he stayed at the shop longer, hardly taking time off. He said it wasn’t work for him—he loved it. He was a member of various car clubs and enjoyed attending car shows and showing cars, and also going to the racetracks.
He is survived by a sister, Marcia (Scott), of Warroad, Minn.; and a sister, Debbie of Little Elm, Texas; nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and nephews.
Rick was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents and many great friends.
The family wishes to express their appreciation for your kindness and support during this difficult time.
Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, July 1, 2023, at 10 a.m., in West Funeral Home, West Fargo. Also, on Sunday, July 2, 2023, at 1 p.m., in Sion Lutheran Church, Lancaster.
Interment will be in Riverview Memorial Gardens, Lancaster.
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center is in charge of arrangements; westfuneralhome.com.