In memory: Jonathan Carlson

Jonathan Carlson portrait
Jonathan Carlson

Jonathan Ored Carlson, 69, died June 16, 2016. A longtime resident of Fort Collins, he was born Aug. 20, 1946, in Minneapolis to John and Hilda (Ohlson) Carlson. The family moved to Loveland where he spent his childhood.

Jon received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Colorado State University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from the University of California-Berkeley in 1974. He was recruited as a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at CSU. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in microbial and molecular genetics and mentored many graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Jon was a director of the Infectious Disease Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence. He was an invaluable resource for students, fellows, and other faculty from throughout the university.

Jon maintained a robust and diverse research program throughout his career, publishing nearly 100 scientific papers. His major research efforts focused upon viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes and the molecular biology of the mosquito vectors. The overall goal of his research was the development of new tools and strategies to control mosquito-borne diseases. With collaborators in the Ukraine and in Thailand, he investigated potential biocontrols of Aedes aegypti, which is the mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya, zika, and yellow fever viruses to humans. Because of this work, he was elected a member of the Academy of Sciences in the Ukraine in 1999. Since his retirement  in 2009, Jon proudly joked of his talent at non-competitive napping.

Jon was gentle and modest. His favorite pastime was watching his grandsons play. He was honored to have one of his grandsons named for him. He loved watching Coen Brothers’ movies with his son, music, fly fishing, and a good martini. Jon was a great cook. He enjoyed celebrating his Swedish heritage, preparing lutefisk every Christmas, although only he and his son-in-law ate it. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Linda; son, Peter; daughter, Hannah (Jack) Masangu; and three grandsons, Collin, Caden, and Jonathan. He will be missed.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 7 at 2 p.m. at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Fort Collins. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the undergraduate scholarship fund for the CSU Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology at or to the playground fund at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. Checks can be made to Our Saviour’s with Carlson Memorial as the memo.