Video Photography by Sue Nelson

Carl was a very private man – About a week ago, Carl’s wife Lisbet, his dear friend Fran Tornquist, and I were all reflecting on our life with Carl, and Lisbet said that she had been married to Carl for 5 years, and that he was just so private that she felt there were things she did not know about him.  Fran turned to me to ask me my thoughts after knowing Carl for 24 years, and I had to agree with Lisbet –Carl was like reading chapters in a good book – always a new revelation about the main character.   I then asked Fran for her thoughts after knowing Carl for 40 years, and Fran said she agreed there was always something new to discover about Carl.

Carl was also – I’ll use the word Thrifty here – back when Carl was well, his daily weekday routine was to get up in the morning and be at the Airport Health Club by 7:00 to take advantage of the free coffee.  Carl would sit at a table in the lobby, drink his coffee, read the newspaper, and then at some point head into the locker room to get changed, work out, take a shower, and then hop in his car and drive 100 yards to my office to refill his coffee cup and grab a treat from our kitchen and come upstairs to visit with me.  I always enjoyed those visits!  This wasn’t really a surprise, but my receptionist told me that Carl would come by when I was not here, and when she would told Carl that I wasn’t in, and he would reply “I know” and still grab a cup of coffee and a treat from the kitchen, visit with our the staff and then head home.

Carl moved to Windsor in 1994, joined our Rotary Club in 1995, and served as Club President for 2000/2001.  Carl’s leadership just before his term as president began was evident – our Rotary Club had recently made the decision to discontinue hosting the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic — our Club hosted that event as both a community event and major fundraiser for 10+ years.

Carl knew the Club would want to tackle something new that would have a big impact on the Windsor community – Carl dubbed it a “signature project”.

Carl and Pat MacDowell paid a visit to the Parks and Rec Commissioner’s office at the Town of Windsor, and asked if they had a “wish list” of projects that they would like to complete that would benefit the youth in Windsor.  Carl and Pat came back to the Club with a proposal to help the Town build a Skateboard Park in Hiram Lewis Park in Windsor – the Club was totally supportive and it would be the first major project for the Windsor Rotary Community Foundation.  Carl’s subcommittee that consisted of Pat MacDowell, Susan Cole, Sue Nelson, Leslie Lewis, and I decided to name Carl’s signature project “2001 – A Skate Odyssey”.  Our group met every Friday morning at Johnny’s Java in Windsor, and although we didn’t complete the project in 2001 or 2002, we did raise $94,000 plus an “in Kind” donation of $25,000 for rebar, and the Skate Park opened to the public in February 2003.

Drawing on his previous Rotary experience with the Rotary Club of San Mateo, Carl made a recommendation to start an endowment fund as part of the Windsor Rotary Community Foundation.  The idea was to create a legacy asset that at some point in the future would generate enough income to fund community service projects.  In the early days, it was called the “Carl and Ed” fund – Carl and I always enjoyed that recognition – but it became apparent that if we wanted to get the endowment fund to the next level, we needed a new name, so it was changed to the John Lewis Endowment Fund after the founder and first president of the Rotary Club of Windsor, John Lewis.

2019 was a very challenging year for Carl – because of his illness he could no longer join us at Rotary on Tuesday.  Carl was diagnosed with an untreatable disease, but when he received this news from his Docs at Kaiser, he made the decision to fight back with chemotherapy.  As is often the case, chemotherapy may help you buy some time, but it can also significantly impact your quality of life.  The chemotherapy sessions took a toll on Carl, and he opted to stop treatment.  Carl had this incredible warrior spirit when he fought this battle, and I never heard one word of complaint from him during this entire ordeal.  I am comforted by the fact that three significant things happened before Carl passed away on December 22.

1)     Carl was able to stay in his home during this entire process – that was very important to him.

2)     I was able to tell Carl that the John Lewis Endowment Fund grew to $500,000 thanks to a very generous donation from a Windsor Rotarian.  That was significant because at $500,000, a portion of the annual income from the fund was now available to fund community service projects.

3)     Carl was able to attend the Rotary Christmas party – Carl had a chance to connect with his Rotary family – that was very important to him.

I’ve lost a dear friend, and I will truly miss him.  The Rotary family has lost a great member, and he will be missed there too.  However, because of Carl’s lasting impression on both our Rotary Club, and the Windsor Rotary Community Foundation, Carl will never be forgotten.

God Bless you Carl!!!!