Date of Death: April 7, 2020

Service Details

In accordance with family wishes cremation will be conducted and there will be memorial gatherings in Michigan and in Minnesota. Interment of cremains will be held at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Michigan, once virus restrictions have been lifted.

Obituary Notice

Phillip Kenneth Carlson, age 54, of Three Rivers, Michigan passed away on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at Three Rivers Health. He was born on September 14, 1965, in Minneapolis, MN to Earl and Margaret (Alberts) Carlson.
Phil enlisted in U.S. Navy after graduating from Upsala High School in 1983. He served as Electronic Warfare Systems Technician and EW Instructor. His decorations and awards during his service included, Navy Expeditionary Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy Good Conduct Medal, and National Defense Medal.
He was united in marriage to Mary Ritter on November 18, 1986, in California. They had two sons, Shane and Kyle, in their 33 years together. He retired from the Navy in 2003 and moved his family to Michigan. He earned his AAS in Electronic Instrumentation from Excelsior College in 2003. He later earned his Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering, Computer Science and Communications in 2011 from Western Michigan University and also a degree in Wind
Energy Technology and HVAC in 2014 from Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Phil is survived by his wife, Mary Carlson of Three Rivers; children, Shane Carlson and Kyle Carlson of Three Rivers; father, Earl Carlson of St. Paul, MN; mother-in-law, Rita Ritter of Freeport, MN and step father, Douglas MacArthur of Cherokee Village, AR. In Minnesota, he has two sisters, Kris Salava (Frank) of Chisago City, Mary Skillings (Rick) of Alexandria and brother, Mark MacArthur (Sara) of Avon; seven nieces and nephews and a step niece and step nephew; brothers and sisters-in-law, Ronald Ritter (Elaine) of Freeport, Judy Theisen (Bob) of St. Francis, Joseph Ritter (Brenda) of St. Francis, Steven Ritter of Freeport, and Linda Gertken (Brian) of Albany; fifteen nieces and nephews.

Phil was preceded in death by his mother, Margaret MacArthur, and father-in-law, Gilbert Ritter.

Additional Information

Memorial donations may be directed to the Carlson Family in care of Mary Carlson. Envelopes available and may be sent to Hohner Funeral Home in care of arrangements.

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  1. I had the great privilege of taking care of Mr. Carlson as one of the fellows (doctors-in-training) at the Ann Arbor VA. He always had so many challenges facing him, but would always greet us with a smile and became beloved by the nurses and doctors. We would chat about current events and his engineering background (my father is an aeronautics engineer and built airplane engines for the military). His joy and resilience inspired me and I will truly miss seeing him around the VA. All the best to his family – I am indebted to him as I learned so much in caring for him.

  2. Mary, sorry for your loss. Your family has our deepest sympathies. We at the Marcellus VFW had a lot of good times with Phil (Pancakes) and you over the years. Whether it was marching in the parades with the color guard or helping out at the dinners. We appreciated his service to our country and his help at the VFW. ♥️

  3. Peace, strength and love, we will miss you. Can’t wait to see you again! Prayers to your family as this can be difficult.

  4. Oh Philip, none of this feels right- you were the gentle cousin who thought everything I did was perfect. You and Jerry were thick as thieves and your friendship with him would pick up immediately when we were all gathered. You were always smiling, and mischievous and your sense of humor was just one of your personality traits that made you a joy to be with. You could tell a joke straight faced and we’d look at you twice before understanding it was a joke. I always thought you were a great dancer, which made you even more enjoyable! I always imagined your home in Michigan, imagined your family life there and was so grateful that you were finally out of the military. When I think of you- I will think of all these memories and you’ll live on through them. I asked Maxx to meet you, to let you know he’s Dories boy and to give you a hug from me. So much love to you Phil now and forever❤️ I love you , Your cousin Dori

  5. My little man, in whom I have always been so very proud, has left us. The pain we feel now is equal to, but never greater than, the joy he brought us while he was here.

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