Funeral Service March 3 for Rollie Carlson

LIBERTYVILLE, IL (February 26, 2012) – A funeral service for Rollie Carlson, former president of Covenant Ministries of Benevolence (CMB) of the Evangelical Covenant Church, will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 3, at Libertyville Covenant Church, 250 South St. Mary’s Road in Libertyville.

Visitation will be observed from 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 2, at Burnett Dane Funeral Home, 120 West Park Avenue in Libertyville.

Carlson, 79, died early Friday afternoon following a brief illness.

Carlson helped guide the Covenant on numerous projects that benefited the “least of these.” In 2008, Swedish Covenant Hospital presented him and his wife, Janis, with the Spirit of Compassion Award.

As head of CMB, Carlson created the Compassion, Mercy, and Justice Committee, which eventually became a department within the denomination. He also served at one time as president of the North Park University Alumni Association.

Paul Peterson, who succeeded Carlson as CMB president, said, “I think his greatest contribution was making it possible to pull all of the Covenant retirement communities under one organization.”

Peterson noted Carlson’s generosity and commitment to helping others. “He was always very helpful to people and supportive of different projects. He didn’t just ask people to give. He gave a lot himself.”

He is survived by his wife, Janis; four sons, David Carlson, Craig Swanson, Todd Swanson, and Bradley Swanson; and three daughters, Kristine Bruckner, Karin Lundstedt, and Carla Engstrom; 17 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Gretchen. Click here to read more from The Chicago Tribune.

Covenant News Service will publish additional information as it becomes available.

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  1. I will never forget when I recieved his call to come on to the Board of Benevolence in 1992. There was this huge voice gving me a big welcome for something I knew very little about. I then met the person behind the huge voice and it was this huge man. We shook hands and then he gave me huge hug. My kind of guy! Inside that big frame beat an even bigger heart. We agreed on many things and agreed to disagree on others. When he and I walked the streets of Gary, Indiana at the start of the “Marshall Plan for Gary” he was moved deeply by a sense to help this once great town return to it’s glory days and have a revitalization of God’s spirit throughout. He was a good man. Well done, Rollie! Life is better because you walked our way.

  2. Rollie was my mentor in the early 70’s at Harris Bank. He is the one who pulled me out of a designated career in contracting into a career with the bank. Rollie’s counsel at that time in a young man’s career was invaluable to me. In my mind, he was always larger than life, and I thought he’d live forever providing sage advice to whomever he met. Rollie, you will be missed. Jon Engebretson

  3. Rollie was one of the orignal board members for NCP when it became a mortgage bank for Covenant churches and institutiones. His wise counsel and sometime rough exterior covered up a soft interior which always wanted the best for everyone. I leared and lot from Rollie and I praise him for it.

  4. I met Rollie when I was privileged to room with his daughter, Kris, in college a long time ago. Ever since then I have felt like part of this wonderful family. Rollie was a wonderful, generous, caring and friendly man. I will miss him very much. I would so much like to be there in person on Saturday to celebrate his life and worship God with his dear family and friends. I will be with you all in spirit and prayer.

  5. I have such fond memories of Rollie from my days in the Central Conference. He served for a time on what was then called the “Urban & Ethnic Ministries Committee”. He had a big heart for the city, for racial justice and for the marginalized. He was significant supporter of SCUPE as I recall, and was generous in helping many who were in need. He had a big heart and was a good steward of what God had given him. He was impatient with slow moving beauracracy, as he wanted to see things done. He would always cut to the chase. “What are we going to do about this?” he would say. He wanted action not just talk and sympathy for a cause. He was always a force in the room. You knew he was there, and you knew behind all that energy was his compassion and sense of what was right. He will be deeply missed. Thanks, Rollie, for your friendship and kindness to me. And may you, Jan, and Rollie’s children and families know the comfort of fond memories and the blessed hope of our wonderful gospel.

  6. My grandfather taught us to call him Farfar (Father’s father in Swedish), even though he was our MorFar (mother’s father), because he thought it was good to have one title among his grandchildren…and because MorFar ‘sounded weird.’ I will always remember my Farfar for being consistently generous, caring, affirming, hard working, telling ridiculous stories, well organized and strong. He celebrated faith and family at the core of his life and consistently encouraged me to share Christ with others. I am thankful to God for how he has impacted my life and my family. I grieve assured that he is engulfed in God’s love more now than he ever knew in this life.

  7. I worked for Rollie for five years when he was president of CMB and I was director of communications.  He was always very supportive and encouraging to us as employees, and he considered us his equals; we were co-workers. He was also a wonderful example because of his genuine caring for the disadvantaged. He used the biblical terms of “compassion, mercy, and justice” over and over again and sincerely meant them as our mandate.  He was one of the Covenant Church’s great leaders!

  8. Rollie had a zest for life and a big heart. He was smart, he was generous. He was always looking for ways to give people a chance that they wouldn’t otherwise have. He had a strong sense of what is right and just, and worked to bring that about. From junior high counselor to friend and encourager throughout my adult life, he was my “uncle,” so I collected a hug every time I saw him. He was truly one of a kind.

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