Carol Blackmon Carlson, 76, of Sanford, NC, passed away December 31, 2021 at Carolina Central Hospital. Carol was generous, loving, compassionate, and wide open to life’s experiences. She loved her family and friends unconditionally. Her passions included music, dancing, politics, her church community, and unrelenting service to the people and causes she believed in. The lives she touched and impact she had along the way are immeasurable.
Carol was born in Durham, the second of five children to the late William Earl Blackmon of Four Oaks and Louise Swain Blackmon of New Bern. In 1972 she moved to Anchorage Alaska for “a one-year adventure” with her brother, Bill. Once there, she met and married Richard Carlson. They stayed in Alaska 26 years where they raised their two children, Brian, and Cortney.
In 1999, they moved to Sanford to escape the harsh winters and be closer to family. Once in Lee County, Carol hit the ground running looking for opportunities to enrich the lives of others in her new community. She served on the boards of Downtown Sanford, Inc., and Haven, a nonprofit providing shelter, advocacy, and other support services for women, men, and children leaving abusive situations. She was a past president of the Sanford Professional Women’s Organization and was the founder and original Executive Director of Willing Hands, whose mission is to build community and raise funds for agencies who work with at-risk families in Lee County. Special events and projects she created to support that mission include No Scare Fair, Holiday Socks, and the all-volunteer weaving studio Common Thread. The Sanford Herald selected Carol Carlson as 2004 Citizen of the Year and in 2016 she was named Woman of the Year by the Lee County Community Foundation for her continued positive impact on Lee County,
Carol is survived by her husband of 47 years, Richard Carlson of Sanford; son, Brian Carlson, daughter-in-law Jen, and grandchildren Matthew, Juliet and Cameron, of Minnesota; sisters Anne Gillenwater (Steve) of Florida; Tricia Anderson (Ross) of Alaska; brother Dick Blackmon (Trish) of Hillsborough, NC; and an adoring multitude of nieces, nephews, and cousins throughout the country. She was pre-deceased by her daughter, Cortney Michelle Carlson and brother, William E. Blackmon, Jr.
A celebration of Carol’s life is planned for May 14th in Depot Park, Sanford, NC.
In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation in her honor to Trinity Lutheran Church, 525 Carthage St, Sanford, NC 27330; Common Thread, 234 Carthage St #4205, Sanford, NC 27330; or Haven in Lee Co, PO Box 3191, Sanford, NC 27331.