Wiliam “Willie” Carlstrom, 76 years of age, died at home Monday, July 31st after a seven-year battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his wife, Wanda, and family members.
Willie was born in Red Wing to Elmer and Marian Carlstrom. He grew up in rural Goodhue and graduated from Goodhue High School in 1965. Upon graduation, he worked at Red Wing Shoe factory prior to being drafted to serve in the U.S. Army in November 1966. He did basic training in El Paso, Texas followed by further training in Virginia. He was sent to Viet Nam, where he spent his 21st birthday on guard duty during the Tet Offensive. Upon discharge he attended Dunwoody Technical Institute where he studied Auto Mechanics. His first employment was at Dabelow Pontiac in Cannon Falls. Willie’s mechanical skills led to several jobs in the construction industry including heavy equipment. He retired from Hoffman & McNamara Nursery in 2013.
He married Wanda Benrud on August 14, 1971. Willie loved watching the wildlife at their home in rural Cannon Falls. They enjoyed camping and walleye fishing “up north” and ice fishing on Mille Lacs. He also enjoyed deer hunting with friends and family, but his passion was playing cribbage. Willie played weekly with the Grass Roots club in Northfield. As a skilled player, he traveled near and far to compete in tournaments.
Willie will be remembered fondly by his nieces and others for his “teasing” personality. His nephews and many admired his mechanical skills and wealth of knowledge in all things mechanical.
He is survived by his wife, Wanda, brothers Mark (Toni) of Park Rapids, David (Brenda) of Red Wing, sister Janice Kyllo of Mazeppa, two brothers-in-law – Jerry Benrud (Viki) of Amboy, and Roger Benrud (Michelle) of Goodhue, and sister-in-law Cindy Ryan (Greg) of Goodhue and 18 nieces and nephews.
Willie was preceded in death by a sister, a brother, his parents, a sister-in-law, and parents in-law.
A Celebration of Life will be held August 13th at the Cannon Falls Sportsman’s Club, 32970 Oxford Mill Rd, Cannon Falls, MN 55009; from 4-8pm, with a short program at 5:30. Memorials preferred to Northfield Hospital Foundation, River Bluff Humane Society or donor's choice.