Gerald “Jerry” Carlson, 86, of Bayfield, Wisconsin passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on June 7, 2020. He was born in Almena, Wisconsin on April 17, 1934. Jerry graduated from Barron High School in 1951 and went on to receive a degree in Electronics from DeVry University of Chicago in 1953. He then joined the Army during the Korean conflict and served from 1953 through 1956. After an honorable discharge from the army he went on to reside in Minneapolis until 1964 repairing televisions and building electronic devices such as amplifiers. In 1964 he moved to Bayfield and began his lifelong passion of developing Mt. Ashwabay Ski Area, which he operated for the next 48 years. He was also involved in the development and management of Port Superior Marina in the 1970’s and co-owned and operated Salmo Construction with Jim Smith. In 1986, when Big Top Chautauqua raised its first blue tent and every year thereafter, Jerry was not only the crew chief for the tent raising and take-down, he and his wife Carol operated the Mt. Ashwabay concessions until 2012. Jerry was a friend to all who knew him and was the Town Supervisor serving on the Bayfield Town Board for approximately 25 years. He also served on the Bayfield Heritage Association board.
Aside from work, Jerry had many interests throughout his life including skiing, studying history, and astronomy. You could point to any star in the sky and Jerry could tell you its name and how far away it was. He made many close friends throughout his life and to many growing up skiing at the hill, they saw him as a father figure. He will forever be known as the original “King of the Mountain”.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Carol and his children Jodi (Ken) Halida, Corey (Carole) Carlson, Mike (Raena) DePerry, Cheri (Ronald) Moore, grandchildren Kayla DePerry, Dalton DePerry, Deklan DePerry, Sara (Joe) Pelzek, Caitlyn Lautenschlager, Aaron (Courtney) Mick, Taylor (David) Mick, Ronnie Moore, Cohen Moore, and great grandchildren; Abigail Pelzek, Ruth Pelzek, Caden Manceaux, and Connor Manceux.
A private graveside service will be held for family with a Celebration of Jerry’s life to be held at a future date. Family requests in lieu of flowers donations be made to Mt. Ashwabay Ski Area or Big Top Chautauqua.
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