Mildred “Millie” M. Carlson, 94, of Kenosha, passed away peacefully, Friday, July 30, 2021, at The Legacy at St. Joseph’s.
She was born on July 28, 1927, to Carl E. and Anna Margaret (Murphy) Carlson in Burlington, Iowa. Millie was preceded in death by her parents, brother Richard, and dear friend Mary Jensen. She was educated in the schools of Burlington and graduated from Burlington High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa, and her Master of Arts Degree from UW-Milwaukee.
After teaching in rural Iowa, Millie moved to Kenosha in 1968 to teach science at Washington Jr. High School. She was part of the team that piloted the House Program for the Kenosha Unified School District. Students will remember the “bike hikes” and the outdoor field trips that she organized. After 21 years at WJHS, she was selected to become part of the first team of educators to serve fellow educators at the Regional Staff Development Center. While at the Center, she collaborated with Professor Joseph Balsano to obtain a National Science foundation grant which funded the Science Fellows Program that trained more than 600 teachers in teaching science to elementary students. Before retiring from KUSD in 1989, she taught for 3 years at Curtis Strange Elementary. After retirement, Millie presented over one hundred programs each year as the Planetarium Director at Mary D. Bradford High School, led tours of the Bong Nature Center, served as a substitute teacher in the Catholic Schools and was a bailiff for Judge Barbara Kluka.
All her life, Millie was an avid biker, riding over a thousand miles per year; on her 80th birthday she exceeded her birthday goal and rode 85 miles! Countless people in Kenosha became avid bikers due to Millie’s encouragement. She loved the outdoors and inspired others to do the same. No one ever accompanied Millie through Chiwaukee Prairie without learning about local wildflowers and birds. She organized walks around Lake Geneva, cross country skiing trips to Northern Wisconsin and canoeing trips to the Boundary Waters. Millie shared her knowledge of astronomy, often organizing stargazing events. She enjoyed canoeing, hiking, playing bridge, gardening, traveling with friends and was an avid Cubs fan.
Millie invited, persuaded, and supported countless others to lead more active lives and to become involved in environmental and social causes. Millie was a member of CUSH, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and former member of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. She volunteered to teach English as a Second Language, volunteered at the Shalom Center and INNS Program, served on the Executive Committee of the regional Sierra Club and was an active member of Great Lakes Planetarium Association.
Millie is survived by several loving cousins and many friends who will fondly remember their adventures with Millie. A sincere Thank You to the entire staff at The Legacy at St. Joseph’s for the care they provided to Millie these past six years.
A Celebration of Life for Millie will be held on Thursday, September 2, 2021, at the Donald Wruck Pavilion at Lake Andrea in Pleasant Prairie starting at 11:00 a.m. She will be laid to rest in her family plot at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Burlington, Iowa. In lieu of flowers, memorials would be appreciated to a charity of one’s choice.