Cover photo for Donald A. “Driver Don” Carlson's Obituary
Donald A. “Driver Don” Carlson Profile Photo

Donald A. “Driver Don” Carlson

July 31, 1949 — June 10, 2020

Donald A. “Driver Don” Carlson, 70, of Toledo, OH, passed away peacefully at his home on June 10, 2020 with his family by his side, after courageously fighting to regain his health after suffering a stroke. He was born in Tracy, MN to Austin and Catherine (Brecht) Carlson and was the youngest of six children.

Don was a graduate of Tracy High School, served and was Honorably Discharged from the United States Air Force and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Central Michigan University. He established his career in the freight industry as both a dispatcher and a driver. He loved his regular customers and kept on time if not with a wink and a smile then by always having a pocketful of Dove Chocolates to buy his place in line. He retired as a driver from ABF Freight in Toledo after 25 years.

On his 50th birthday, he married his partner for life Ann Marie (Annie) Jones and they combined their families. On their wedding day, he jokingly told her he could only promise her 20 good years and being a man of his word, that is exactly what he did. As an anniversary gift he surprised her by taking her on a trip to Mexico where they spent an incredible 8 days shortly before he fell ill.

Don had many interests to occupy his time during retirement which included watching Minnesota Vikings Football, following the myths and legends of Bigfoot and the Aliens, and celebrating his Scandinavian heritage. As a young man he was fortunate to travel to Norway with his father.

He loved music of all kinds and you were always guaranteed to find a JW Carlson album in the mix. He was also a self-taught harmonica and spoons player.

He was a master of all things barbecue and had a sauce no one could duplicate. Don was the neighborhood handy man. He had a never-ending love of gardening and his flowers and would beam with pride when passers-by would stop to compliment his yard. He so enjoyed when they took an interest in learning what all the different plants were and their history.

His truest love, however, was being ‘Merfer’ to his grandchildren. He was as unique as his name and loved to show off pictures or brag about them to anyone he could. He would grumble and huff when they were loud but would drop anything at a moment’s notice to be with them.

He was preceded in death by his son Joshua McMullen, his parents, his twin brother Duane, brothers Howard and David, Aunt Lucille Brecht and niece Lorna Kunkel Hall. He is survived by his loving wife Annie, children Maggie Burks, Jesse Carlson (Leah Robinson) and Kristen (Keith) Lennex, grandchildren Isaak, Charley, Ruthie, and Lucy, brother Claire A. (Mary) Carlson, sister Ann (Orlo) Bjerk, his constant canine companion Elsa, as well as many in-laws, nieces, and nephews.

Don’s Life Celebration will begin Saturday, June 27th starting at 11 a.m. with Funeral Services at 1 p.m. with Fr. James Auth officiating at Urbanski Funeral Home a Life Celebration Home, 5055 Secor Road, Toledo, Ohio. Remembrances may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. The family would like to give a special thanks to the nurses and aides at Hospice of Northwest Ohio. To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald A. “Driver Don” Carlson, please visit our flower store.


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