Cover photo for Ray Spencer Charlson's Obituary
Ray Spencer Charlson Profile Photo

Ray Spencer Charlson

October 4, 1928 — May 2, 2017

Ray Spencer Charlson

Ray Spencer Charlson, 88, of Forest City and Red Wing, transitioned peacefully to Heaven on May 2nd, surrounded by his loving family, at Hospice of North Iowa in Mason City, Iowa.

Ray is survived by Violet (Book), the love of his life and wife of 70 years and children, Cynthia (John) Monroe of Cedar Rapids, Susan (Jerry) Radke of Nevada, Jerry (Diane) Charlson of Thompson, JoAnn Charlson of Ames, Barbara Charlson of Collins, many grandchildren, great grandchildren, cousins, sisters-in-law Alice Charlson and LaVerna Charlson, brother-in-law Harold Book, nephews, nieces, and extended family.

Ray was born October 4, 1928 to Andrew and Gena (Lovik) Charlson, raised on the family farm, and attended school in Lake Mills. He was baptized and confirmed at the Winnebago Lutheran Church. Ray worked at farming, Forester, and Winnebago Industries. He was devoted to faith, family, farming, fishing, and fun. He loved to joke with and tease his grandchildren and always had candy hidden away for them. Ray enjoyed dancing, gardening, water skiing, bird-watching, hunting, and traveling, visiting all 50 States and the family farms in Norway and Sweden. His favorite times were with his family and friends at his pagoda on the Mississippi River. Ray and Violet put great emphasis on education, helping all five of their children receive university master degrees. Ray was always bigger than life and the source of strength and comfort to many.

Ray was preceded in death by his parents, great grandson Caleb Bruggeman, siblings and spouses Agnes (Martel) Mathews, Marie (Torjus) Haugo, Herbert Charlson, Sherman (Sadie) Charlson, Glenn ( Avis) Charlson, Orven Charlson, and in-laws Otto and Ida Book, Luella (Clarence) Johnson, Gus (Pearl) Book, Albert (Dorothy) Book, Clarence (Margaret) Book, Olaf (Ellen) Book, Dell (Wanda) Book, Emily (Ben) Harringa, Everett Book, Marlys Book and other loved family members.

Visitation will be held 4:00 – 7:00 P.M. Friday at Cataldo Schott Funeral Chapel, 505 North Clark St. Forest City, Iowa and a Celebration of Life service will be held at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, May 6, 2017 at Winnebago Lutheran Church, rural Lake Mills with Pastor Bill Peters and Pastor Steve Pannkuk officiating. Inurnment will be at a later date in the church cemetery. Memorial contributions may be directed to Winnebago Lutheran Church, 40029 210th Ave Street, Lake Mills, 50450 or PO Box 254, Collins, Iowa, 50055.

Online condolences may be expressed at
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Past Services


Friday, May 5, 2017

4:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)

Cataldo Funeral Home - Main Office

760 Center Avenue, Garner, IA 50438

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Starts at 11:00am (Central time)

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