Hienz John Carlson of Grand Rapids, MN was born on July 4, 1927 to John Emil and Sigrid Ottila (Beck) Carlson in Duluth, MN. He passed away on January 9, 2019 in the Mankato Hospital Mayo, Mankato, MN surrounded by his family.
Hienz grew up on a farm in Lawrence Lake. He graduated from Greenway High School and the National Radio Engineering School, Omaha NE.
With Mavis Kathleen, his wife of 58 years, he owned and operated Carlson’s TV and Appliance and Carlson’s Cable TV in Bovey, MN.
He was preceded in death by his wife Mavis Kathleen (Hecimovich) in 2014, his parents, his brother Ron Carlson and his sister Hazel Hanson.
He was survived by his son Rob (Dianna) Carlson, his daughter, Nancy (Steve) Holmseth, and four grandchildren Owen (Karen) Holmseth, Jenny Holmseth, Erin (Stephen) Hudak, and Ryan (Abbey) Carlson.
Dad was a remarkable person as well as a great father. He was shot in a deer hunting accident when he was 15 years old leaving him visually impaired. He attended the Faribault School for the Blind for several months before leaving and ultimately graduating from Greenway High School. He graduated from The National Radio Engineering School in Omaha Nebraska and started Carlson’s Radio Sales and Service in Bovey, MN in 1947. Dad eventually moved into television sales, plumbing and heating, antenna sales and installation, and appliance sales. In 1967, along with his wife Mavis, they engineered and build their own cable system in Bovey and Coleraine.
Hienz Carlson never allowed his disability to hold him down or hold him back. When others might ask, “why?”, his philosophy was, “why not?” He and his wife, Mavis, looked to serve the communities of Bovey and Coleraine with servant hearts. When there were calamities in Bovey, they made sure to respond and give their best including two downtown fires where they opened their storefront to fellow business owners who were watching their dreams burn away and to bring a turkey or ham to folks experiencing loss in their own families. Every winter Dad climbed the 100 foot tower on the top of the dump at the bottom of Bovey and lit up the evenings with a beautiful 60 foot Christmas cross made of lights.
Hienz never complained about his disability. Instead, he used it as a motivation for success. And others who knew him were motivated by his “can do” attitude. “If a blind man can build success like he did, I have nothing to complain about”, was heard by some of his classmates who made successes of their lives as well.
When Hienz left the school for the blind early, he told his father that he wanted to graduate from high school. The then superintendent saw no reason why not and Arnie Erickson read Hienz his lessons to help him graduate with honors. Arnie related later that he, himself, wouldn’t have graduated from high school if it was for his friendship and reading with Hienz.
Hienz Carlson was on this earth for 91 years, 5 months, and 5 days. He was an inspiration to many and still is.