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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dr. Richard A. Carlson, completed his journey through life and joined God in heaven on June 6, 2015 at just one month short of his 86th birthday. Born to the late Andrew E. & Edna L. Carlson, Dick was seen by all who knew him as a prodigy from the start.

Dick breezed through school, graduating from South Park High School in Buffalo at age 15, and from the University of Buffalo with a bachelor's in chemistry at age 18.

Unable to find full-time employment then due to his age, Dick enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving at Fort Fitzsimmons in Denver, CO and pursuing a graduate program in chemistry while there. Ironically, the same day he received his shipping orders to Korea, he also received notice of acceptance into medical school.  Medical School “trumped” the Army and he was honorably discharged to attend medical school at the University of Buffalo, receiving his M.D. degree in 1955.

During his prodigious medical career spanning six decades, Dick specialized in internal medicine and geriatric care in North Tonawanda, Buffalo and Cheektowaga.  He served as president of DeGraff Memorial Hospital, taught in the clinical medical program at the State University at Buffalo, and was a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Everyone who met Dick, his patients and his colleagues, knew him to be a remarkable doctor from "the old school" - caring, devoted, and always ready to provide helpful insight. He had an excellent "bedside manner", and invested whatever time it took to get to know the person and help solve whatever problem they may have had.  Nonetheless, whenever asked about the secret to his success, he would simply chalk it up to "hard work".

In his 70’s he decided to take a “sabbatical” and his Dr.’s bag serving as a physician for the Sioux Indians of the Cheyenne River Tribe.  He treated everything from snake bite to the medicine man himself.

Returning home from working with the Indians, he decided to spend summers at a camp for children, as camp doctor.  In 2003, he procured a position with the military doing physicals for the MEPS, which he was still doing to date.  Dick returned to fulltime office practice, and on May 29th of this year, completed 60 years a practicing physician.  Dick was a longtime member of the Kennel Club of Niagara Falls, serving on their scholarship committee

Dick was an inspiration for many family members pursuing medical paths, including a brother, the late Dr. David E. Carlson, Sr.; his sons Dr. Richard A. ("Randy") Carlson, Jr., an internist and Dr. Stephen  _ Carlson, an anesthesiologist; his daughter, Kathryn Gimbel, a registered nurse,  and her daughter Hannah, currently in medical school in Israel.

Dick leaves behind his devoted wife, Barbara (nee Pittler), and their amazing standard poodle, Simon, as well as nine toy poodles.  If truth be told, Barbara's love, and perhaps that of Simon too, was the real secret to Dick's success later in life.

Dick also leaves behind his sister Mary (James) Halliday and his brother Dale (Ginger) Carlson; children Dr. Richard A. (Jennifer) Carlson Jr., James A. (Linda) Carlson, Daniel F. (Wende) Carlson, Kathryn M. (Dr. Jeffery) Gimbel, Dr. Stephen (Sue) Carlson; grandchildren, Emily, Zachary, Nathaniel, Lyssa, Madison, Noah, Jared, Hannah, Leah, Jonah.  He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.  Beside his brother David, Richard is also predeceased by his first wife Patricia (nee Archer) Carlson.

Although all will miss him dearly, may we continue to be inspired by the fullness of Dick's life, and by the style and class with which he lived it.
Friends may call Wednesday June 10th 6-8 PM and Thursday June 11th 1-3 PM and 6-8 PM, in Prudden and Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee Street, Lockport, NY.  Funeral Services will be held Friday June 12th at 10 AM in Lockport United Church of Christ, 98 East Avenue, Lockport, NY.  Interment will be in St. Peter’s Cemetery.  In Lieu of Flowers, memorials to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, c/o Joan, 5526 Niagara Street Ext., Lockport, NY 14094 or to The Hospice Foundation of WNY, 225 Como Park Boulevard, PO Box 590, Buffalo, NY 14240-0590, would be appreciated by the family.

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