KENT, WASHINGTON (May 14, 2012) – A memorial service was conducted May 6 for R. Marlys ( Challgren) Carlson, 86, widow of former Evangelical Covenant Church pastor Wally Carlson. She died May 5.
She was born June 19, 1925. After graduating from high school at age 16, Carlson graduated from teachers college and taught elementary school. She went on to attend North Park Theological Seminary.
Marlys served as a parish worker at Ravenswood Covenant Church during a chapter in the church’s life when the congregation was between pastors while in the midst of a building project. As the only ministry person on staff, Marlys spent her days doing visitation and handling administration and every duty of a pastor except preaching.
Wally and Marlys were married in 1953. It was a relationship that started with a wager.
As the fate of alphabetical order would have it in the classroom seating chart, Challgren sat behind Carlson. In a playful wager between Marlys and Wally, it was agreed that whoever took second place in the Greek class grade was to treat the winner to dinner. Wally bought Marlys that meal.
The Carlsons served Covenant Churches in Mason City, Iowa, and Azusa, California. Marlys served alongside Wally at Kent Covenant Church, which he founded and guided for 22 years.
Wally preceded her in death in 1988. Survivors include two sons, Rick Carlson and Tim Carlson; and two daughters, Barb Buer of Minnesota, and Sonja Peterson. Rick and Sonja’s husband, Rob Peterson, are both Covenant pastors.