Barbara Carlson, devoted wife of long-time GG columnist and advisor Dr. Will Carlson, died Thursday, April 18, at Stoneleigh Hospice Residence in Lansing, Mich.
For more than 25 years, she and Will nurtured the bedding plant industry by building a trade association that served hundreds of growers–Bedding Plants International (BPI). In addition to being a homemaker for Will and their sons, Will and Wayne, Barbara became BPI’s office manager and was a fabulous hostess to a constant stream of graduate students and visitors from the horticultural industry while Will was part of the horticultural faculty at Michigan State University (MSU).
“She’ll be greatly missed,” son Will says. “I’m sure God called her home quickly to help manage my father.” Dr. Will died just over a year ago, January 20, 2010.
Barbara was born July 20, 1942 on Staten Island, N.Y., and was the second child of Chief Petty Officer Ralph and Lola Beauchamp. She met her future husband, Will, in 1963 in State College, Pa., where she was an office worker and he was an undergraduate student at Penn State University. They married later that year in New York. After Will completed his Ph.D. in horticulture from Penn State in 1967, the couple relocated with their new son to East Lansing, Mich., where Will joined the horticulture faculty at MSU.
Will and Barbara are survived by their sons and their families: William and Mary Carlson of St. Johns, Mich., and their children; and Wayne and Danette Carlson of Galesburg, Mich., and their children. A viewing was held at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home in East Lansing on Sunday, May 1. Funeral services were Monday, May 2, at University Lutheran Church, with interment following at Mount Hope Cemetery.