Carlton Christianson

Carlton H. Christianson, 84, of Waukon died Tuesday, January 3, 2023 at Northgate Care Center in Waukon. Memorial services were held Monday, January 9 at Old East Paint Creek Lutheran Church in rural Waterville with Pastor Ken Kimball officiating and burial at the church cemetery. Martin-Grau Funeral Home in Waukon handled arrangements.

Carlton Horace Christianson was born October 20, 1938 in Waterville, the youngest child of Ingvold and Isabelle (Hanson) Christianson. He became a confirmed member of Old East Paint Creek Lutheran Church in rural Waterville and remained so throughout his life. In 1957, he graduated from Waterville High School.

Carlton worked many farm jobs for various Waterville farmers during high school, including as a hired hand for George Huffey while in school and after graduating. After finishing high school, Carlton took a short break from farming to work at Hi-Grade (Agriprocessors) in Postville in the kill plant. However, farming was in his blood and eventually called him back.

After being set up on a blind date and following a memorable courtship, Carlton married his one and only love, Sonya Karleen Liddle. June 7, 1959, they married at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Waukon. The couple had four children: Robyn Joy, Jeffrey Kae, Jerry Ray and Paula Jean.

He then became a farmhand for George Hexum in the Glenwood, rural Decorah, area from 1959-1960, where he and his family lived for the next two years. In 1962, Carlton was given the opportunity to rent and farm George Riek’s land in rural Waterville. Carlton and Sonya resided there with their two oldest children from 1960-1964.

Following this, they set roots down in Mays Prairie in rural Lansing. They then farmed the Clinton Dee farm and brought the last two members of their family home. Carlton and his family spent many years making it his family farm, and he was very proud of all they accomplished with it.

For ten years, Carlton was a member of the all-men’s choir, the Luren Singers Society, based in Decorah. He and Sonya toured local area churches and Norway singing beautiful, old-time hymns. He also served on the Calhoun Creamery Board, the Old East Paint Creek Cemetery Board, was Sunday School Superintendent, the cemetery groundskeeper, church janitor, and was on the Allamakee County Extension Council.

He and Sonya were also members of the square-dancing club in Waukon, where they would hold practices in the old Waukon Opera House. Sonya would make their matching outfits and Carlton would wear them with pride. Besides this, they still made time to raise crops and hogs and milk cows throughout the years.

After Sonya’s untimely death in 1989, Carlton moved to Waukon but continued the farming life with his youngest son, Jerry, until 1998, when they made the difficult decision to sell. After leaving the farm, he took a full-time position at Dee Implement and Sweeney’s Village Farm and Home. After working for seven years as the maintenance/groundskeeper at Southcrest Assisted Living in Waukon, Carlton fully retired in 2011.

Carlton was always available to help anyone in need and also had an impeccable “gift of gab”. Carlton was always open for a hug or a firm handshake. He loved his morning coffee rituals and going for drives in his convertibles. In the spring and summer months, he was hardly ever seen without his white hat and his fake hair hats in the fall and winter.

He brought much joy to many children and adults alike when he played the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Carlton was also known for his beautiful singing voice at funerals and an occasional wedding now and then.

He leaves behind his two sisters, Betty Bechtel of Waukon and Ann Liddle of Alexandria, VA; three children, Jeffrey (Pam) Christianson of Waukon, Jerry (Becky) Christianson of Postville and Paula (Steve) Decker of Waukon; his grandchildren: Rennae Collins (Cody Stoen) of Spring Grove, MN, Nathon Collins of Dorchester, Ashley (Alfonzo) Alverez of Postville, Brandon Christianson of Postville, Zachery (Kara) Decker of Waukon, Sonya Ludeking (Randi Cooper) of Prairie du Chien, WI and Ethan (Jessica) Decker of Waukon; his great-grandchildren: Ayden, Gunnar and Halsten Collins of Spring Grove, MN, William, Alixander, Saul and Mia Alverez of Postville, Avery Ludeking of Prairie du Chien, WI, Kinsley and Reid Decker of Waukon, Briley Jo, Brystal and Brantley Decker of Henryetta, OK, and Jason, Zane and Aubree Decker of Waukon; a niece, Corene Bechtel Peck of Waukon; and a nephew, Robert (Cindy) Bechtel of Decorah.

Carlton was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Sonya, in 1989; his parents, Ingvold and Isabelle; a daughter, Robyn, in 2016; three great-grandchildren, Mikaela Collins, Leavy Simaj-Christianson and Abel Ludeking; and two brothers-in-law, Calvin Bechtel and Linus Liddle.

Honorary urnbearers were Bobby Bechtel, Carmen Christianson, Gary Kolsrud, Corene Peck, Wes Rawson, Ed Stamper and Larry Stott.

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