David “Chris” Carlson

David “Chris” Carlson

Chris Carlson was born in Kellogg, Idaho December 22, 1946, and died at his home in Medimont August 25, 2018 due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease (PD), which he contracted in 1998 and Stage IV neuroendocrine cancer diagnosed in 2005.

The eldest child of Margaret Lorene Briggs and David Charles Carlson, the family moved to southern Idaho when he was three, residing in Pocatello and then Idaho Falls. The family then moved to Spokane Valley when he was ten, both parents having become teachers and accepted contracts from the Central Valley School District.

He began his schooling at New Sweden outside of Idaho Falls, and a year later attended Riverside Elementary. He graduated from Central Valley High School in 1965 and accepted a scholarship from Columbia. He took a double minor in English Literature and Comparative Religions and graduated in 1968. During the summer of 1968 he took a ten-credit intensive program in education that qualified him for an Idaho provisional teaching certificate and accepted an offer from the Kootenai School District to teach 8th and 9th grade classes as well as coach the JV basketball team during the 1968-1969 school year.

He then accepted an offer of a teaching assistantship from Idaho State University for the 1969-1970 school year while working on his M.A. in English Literature. He also began his journalism career working as the political editor for the Idaho State Journal.

While at Kootenai he met and became engaged to the most important person in his life, Marcia Kay Andersen of St. Maries. He converted to Catholicism, and they were married June 12, 1970 following his 1970 graduation.

It was while working at the Journal he met the second greatest influence on his life, a balding lumberjack and state senator from Orofino named Cecil Andrus. Following a two-year stint in Washington, D.C., as the correspondent for the Anchorage Daily News, he joined the staff of the then Governor Andrus as his press secretary beginning a nine year span that saw Chris and family return to D.C. for Chris to serve as Andrus’ Director of Public Affairs at the Department of the Interior.

In January of 1981 Idaho Governor John V. Evans appointed Chris to one of Idaho’s two seats on the Northwest Power Planning Council. A year later Chris entered the private sector as Vice President for Public Affairs for The Rockey Company, a Seattle based consulting firm.

In 1984 he accepted an offer from Oakland-based Kaiser Aluminum and became the Northwest Regional Vice President for Public Affairs, a post he held for five years before resigning to found his own regional strategic planning and consulting business, The Gallatin Group.

After Andrus ended his fourth term he joined The Gallatin Group as senior of counsel. In 2005, after his cancer was diagnosed, he shed many of his firm responsibilities and took a disability retirement. While “retired” he has written a weekly political column for six years as well as four books built around documenting Andrus’ legacy.

His father pre-deceased him in 1961 and his mother passed away in 2004. He is survived by Marcia, his wife of 48 years and their four children: Alisa, mother of their two grandchildren, Nathaniel and Marin, who reside in Spokane Valley; Marissa, also in Spokane; Serena (Matt), Deer Park, Wash.; and, Scott (Casey), San Diego. Also surviving is a brother, Corlan (Wendy), Clinton, Wash., and a sister, Linnea (Roger) of Spokane.

A Vigil Service will be Thursday, August 30 at 7 p.m. and a Catholic Mass Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Kellogg. Interment will follow at Rose Lake Cemetery. A family gathering will follow back at the church.

Rather than flowers, the family suggests a donation either to Catholic Charities of Idaho or to Hospice of North Idaho.