Howard Carlton Carlson died of complications from liver disease at Renown Hospital in Reno, Nev., the morning of Wednesday Dec. 19, 2012.
A celebration of Howard’s life will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at the Love Building, 600 Minnie St. (Condon Park), Grass Valley, Calif. All family and friends are welcome to attend and bring gifts of snacks or hors d’oeuvres as drinks will be provided (non-alcoholic).
He was born July 31, 1949, in Waterbury, Conn., to Kate and Howard Carlson Sr. Howard spent his childhood in Naugatuck, Conn., and was an avid baseball player and Red Sox fan. He graduated from Pierce College in New Hampshire in 1972 with a B.A. in journalism/creative writing. Howard married Ann Baker Dec. 16, 1990.
After college, Howard traveled west to California with a group of friends. In 1973, he was hired by the Los Padres National Forest as a wildland fire fighter, which led to his passion for firefighting and his career of 33 years in the forest service. While on the Los Padres National Forest, Howard served as a wildland fire fighter on the Los Prietos Hotshots, San Marcos Helishots, Refugio Station engine captain, and assistant fire management officer. From 1980-1984, Howard and the Refugio Engine covered the Western Whitehouse while President Ronald Reagan was in office. This was a highlight of his career, and he enjoyed working closely with the Secret Service to protect President Reagan and his ranch.
In 1986, Howard transferred to the Tahoe National Forest, where he served as the district fuels officer, district FMO and assistant forest FMO. Howard finished his career in Missoula, Mont., where he was the Regional Fire Equipment Program manager. While employed with the USDA Forest Service, Howard also served as incident commander on several federal Interagency Incident Management teams both in California and Montana. He commanded suppression efforts on many large wildland fires throughout the western states and managed large-scale recovery and support efforts during national disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
After retirement and with the assistance of a few friends, Howard established a small corporation where he eventually became a primary consultant to the Food and Drug Administration. His company also secured contracts with several state and local agencies, where his expertise helped them adhere to national standards while organizing and managing incidents within their jurisdictional authority. Howard was widely respected as a professional firefighter and instructor.
Howard will be missed by his wife, Ann Carlson, residing in Susanville, Calif.; daughter Catherine Tess Carlson of Eugene, Ore.; son Ryan Avery Carlson; granddaughter Claire Margaret Boller of Grass Valley, Calif.; his ex-wife, Linda Lansky; his sister, Kris Well; nephews Stephen and Scott; and niece Katie of Naugatuck.
Howard was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorial gifts: Wildland Firefighter Foundation, which helps families of firefighters, who have been seriously injured or killed in the line of duty — Wildland Firefighter Foundation, 2049 Airport Way, Boise, Idaho 83705, www.wffoundation.org.