Remembering Will Carlson

Remembering Will Carlson

Greenhouse Grower’s Will Carlson, a friend to hundreds of growers across the country, died after battling a serious illness.

A viewing will be held Sunday at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home at 1730 East Grand River in East Lansing, Mich. Viewing hours are from 1 to 4 p.m. A reception will follow at the Plant and Soil Sciences Greenhouse Conservatory at Michigan State University (MSU) from 5 to 7 p.m.

The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, January 25 at University Lutheran Church, which is located at 1020 South Harrison Road in East Lansing. A graveside burial will follow at Evergreen Cemetery on the corner of Mount Hope and Aurelius roads.

Will retired from MSU in 2002 and has been active in his retirement writing his column for Greenhouse Grower, “One to Grow On,” and consulting for growers. He launched Greenhouse Grower more than 25 years ago with Dick Meister, who remembers Will as a friend and colleague who inspired countless growers over the years.

Read Dick’s tribute to Will.

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36 comments on “Remembering Will Carlson

  1. I’ve known Will since my MSU days of the late 70’s. He has been a tireless advocate for our industry and was, in my opinion, instrumental in fueling the innovation that drove the rapid advancement of the bedding plant industry. His monthly columns in GG were always challenging and encouraging. He will be missed.

  2. My condolences to all of us in floriculture. Will was a leader, a prodder, a mover and shaker and a motivator. As such, he sometimes rubbed people the wrong way. But always for good reasons as Will was always interested in the industry and moving forward.

  3. Over the years, I learned many valuable lessons and got great ideas from Will’s column in Greenhouse Grower. Our industry has lost an insightful mentor who openly shared information and insights.

  4. There is no doubt that Dr. Will Carlson was one of the most influential people in molding my career in the early days. I can not say enough on how much he helped me. We will miss you Will.

  5. A ruthless professor in the classroom, but a man full of useful insight into the green industry. Sad to lose such an icon to our industry.

  6. A real lost to the industry. I admired Dr. Will Carlson When I was in College at University of Missouri and he was a young professor. He has done so much for the industry that all of us owe him much. My prayers are with his family.

  7. It was my honor to have met Dr. Carlson at area growers’ meetings. His knowledge and experience in our industry will be missed. My condolences to his family and close friends.

  8. Will Carlson had a great vision and passion for this industry. He shared that passion openly and inspired us to stretch our minds and abilities.
    I am grateful to have experienced his teaching as a professor, a researcher, extension agent, and a business consultant. You accomplished much and inspired many Dr. Will.

  9. “Uncle Will” A close friend of our family for many years.We’ll all remember him at our 75th business anniversary and our 50th wedding anniversary Party in 2006 with his wit and charm. He was always there with a helping hand for any grower willing to listen to his expertise.He will be greatly missed. Our condolences to Barbara and his family.

  10. Four generations of our family were fortunate to be able to call Dr. Carlson our friend and all of us consider ourselves blessed to have known him and worked with him.He was instrumental in transitioning us from struggling celery farmers to relatively successful flower growers. Through it all Will’s wit, wisdom and sarcasm were always appreciated and greatly enjoyed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Barbara and family in this time of great loss.

  11. Will helped the floral industry in so many ways. His legacy will be those he helped in the industry and the students and junior faculty (and those at other universities, not just MSU) that he mentored throughout his long career. He will be missed.

  12. I worked under Dr Carlson in the 90’s. He was a great teacher, mentor and industry leader. He was such an inspiration to many. He always motivated and got things done. Will and family are in my prayers.

  13. Will’s contribution to the production of bedding plants, and the excitement he created around this product, cannot be decribed in just a few words. As Executive Director of Bedding Plants Inc.,he was the driving force that led this part of our industry to the top. We spent many years working together and we think back to those exciting years when bedding plants were #1. Significantly, Will also introduced us to the world by organizing tours to all corners of many countries and we shall be forever grateful for this. We were fortunate to have known Will personally and professionally.

    Our thoughts and prayers go to Barbara and her family.
    Laina and Egon

  14. Dr Will was always 110% for the bedding plant industry, and let nothing stop him in his advocacy. If he was your friend, he was 110% for you, too, and if he disagreed with you he let you know it, but he never went behind your back. He was generous with both praise and criticism, but both helped you in your career. I can hardly believe he is gone; I was sure he would triumph over his illness. He will be missed. My thoughts and sympathy go out to his family in such a difficult time.

  15. Dr. Carlson had our back for four generations and Barbara always had his. Growers all over the world know and respect his unique gift to inspire. His body of work will continue to educate and motivate many future generations. We are so thankful for the great life of Will.

  16. An icon of a figure in our industry! I grew up with Will taking his students through our little greenhouse facility at the time my parents were getting established in the business in the early years. He was always helpful diagnosing plant problems when we were unsure of the issue. While he was certainly a father figure to our industry, he was also a grandfather figure. As a twelve year, I remember he knew my name and always greeted me with that big Will smile. He will be missed! I hope his family knows how much he was loved, respected, and appreciated beyond the immediate family; for we have also lost a family member. Yet, he left us with a legacy of excellence along with his passion for flowers and the people who grow them.

  17. First met Will(and Barb) at the ’72Rochester BPI meeting and it was “love and respect” at first sight! He was one of the biggest influences in my crop advisory life. Hundreds of Canadian growers benefited from Will’s development of the bedding plant industry. Wasn’t it at great time for all involved in the heyday of BPI! I feel so blessed to have known Will. Good thoughts and prayers are with Barb and family.

  18. I’ve known Will since my MSU days of the late 70’s. He has been a tireless advocate for our industry and was, in my opinion, instrumental in fueling the innovation that drove the rapid advancement of the bedding plant industry. His monthly columns in GG were always challenging and encouraging. He will be missed.

  19. My condolences to all of us in floriculture. Will was a leader, a prodder, a mover and shaker and a motivator. As such, he sometimes rubbed people the wrong way. But always for good reasons as Will was always interested in the industry and moving forward.

  20. Over the years, I learned many valuable lessons and got great ideas from Will’s column in Greenhouse Grower. Our industry has lost an insightful mentor who openly shared information and insights.

  21. There is no doubt that Dr. Will Carlson was one of the most influential people in molding my career in the early days. I can not say enough on how much he helped me. We will miss you Will.

  22. A ruthless professor in the classroom, but a man full of useful insight into the green industry. Sad to lose such an icon to our industry.

  23. A real lost to the industry. I admired Dr. Will Carlson When I was in College at University of Missouri and he was a young professor. He has done so much for the industry that all of us owe him much. My prayers are with his family.

  24. It was my honor to have met Dr. Carlson at area growers’ meetings. His knowledge and experience in our industry will be missed. My condolences to his family and close friends.

  25. Will Carlson had a great vision and passion for this industry. He shared that passion openly and inspired us to stretch our minds and abilities.
    I am grateful to have experienced his teaching as a professor, a researcher, extension agent, and a business consultant. You accomplished much and inspired many Dr. Will.

  26. “Uncle Will” A close friend of our family for many years.We’ll all remember him at our 75th business anniversary and our 50th wedding anniversary Party in 2006 with his wit and charm. He was always there with a helping hand for any grower willing to listen to his expertise.He will be greatly missed. Our condolences to Barbara and his family.

  27. Four generations of our family were fortunate to be able to call Dr. Carlson our friend and all of us consider ourselves blessed to have known him and worked with him.He was instrumental in transitioning us from struggling celery farmers to relatively successful flower growers. Through it all Will’s wit, wisdom and sarcasm were always appreciated and greatly enjoyed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Barbara and family in this time of great loss.

  28. Will helped the floral industry in so many ways. His legacy will be those he helped in the industry and the students and junior faculty (and those at other universities, not just MSU) that he mentored throughout his long career. He will be missed.

  29. I worked under Dr Carlson in the 90’s. He was a great teacher, mentor and industry leader. He was such an inspiration to many. He always motivated and got things done. Will and family are in my prayers.

  30. Will’s contribution to the production of bedding plants, and the excitement he created around this product, cannot be decribed in just a few words. As Executive Director of Bedding Plants Inc.,he was the driving force that led this part of our industry to the top. We spent many years working together and we think back to those exciting years when bedding plants were #1. Significantly, Will also introduced us to the world by organizing tours to all corners of many countries and we shall be forever grateful for this. We were fortunate to have known Will personally and professionally.

    Our thoughts and prayers go to Barbara and her family.
    Laina and Egon

  31. Dr Will was always 110% for the bedding plant industry, and let nothing stop him in his advocacy. If he was your friend, he was 110% for you, too, and if he disagreed with you he let you know it, but he never went behind your back. He was generous with both praise and criticism, but both helped you in your career. I can hardly believe he is gone; I was sure he would triumph over his illness. He will be missed. My thoughts and sympathy go out to his family in such a difficult time.

  32. Dr. Carlson had our back for four generations and Barbara always had his. Growers all over the world know and respect his unique gift to inspire. His body of work will continue to educate and motivate many future generations. We are so thankful for the great life of Will.

  33. An icon of a figure in our industry! I grew up with Will taking his students through our little greenhouse facility at the time my parents were getting established in the business in the early years. He was always helpful diagnosing plant problems when we were unsure of the issue. While he was certainly a father figure to our industry, he was also a grandfather figure. As a twelve year, I remember he knew my name and always greeted me with that big Will smile. He will be missed! I hope his family knows how much he was loved, respected, and appreciated beyond the immediate family; for we have also lost a family member. Yet, he left us with a legacy of excellence along with his passion for flowers and the people who grow them.

  34. First met Will(and Barb) at the ’72Rochester BPI meeting and it was “love and respect” at first sight! He was one of the biggest influences in my crop advisory life. Hundreds of Canadian growers benefited from Will’s development of the bedding plant industry. Wasn’t it at great time for all involved in the heyday of BPI! I feel so blessed to have known Will. Good thoughts and prayers are with Barb and family.

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