Harry William Carlson, 98, passed away on Friday, September 8, 2023. He was born in Philadelphia, PA. He was the son of Harry P. Carlson and Vera Faust Carlson and grew up in Springfield, PA.
From an early age, Harry was fascinated by airplanes and how things worked. At Springfield High he excelled in math and science, even taking an experimental aerospace engineering class in 1943. He graduated in 1943 and immediately enlisted in the Army Air Corps. During World War II, he served as a navigator and radio operator on B-29s in the Pacific Theatre. Stationed on Guam, he and his crew on the City of Tulsa flew over 35 missions over Japan and its environs.
During his military training, Harry met his future wife, Dorothy Roberts, in Hampton, VA, at Langley Field in October 1944. Upon his return from Guam, they married in Los Angeles on August 21, 1945. Harry worked as a surveyor in Hampton, VA while attending William & Mary College. He then graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA in 1952.
Harry and Dorothy eventually settled in Newport News, VA where they raised their two daughters, Debbie and Cathy. He worked for nearly three decades as an aerospace engineer at Langley Research Center/NASA, investigating sonic boom and designing advanced wing structures. He retired from NASA in 1980 and worked as a consultant with various aerospace firms for two decades.
During high school, Harry ran cross country and track, becoming captain of the track team at Springfield High School in his senior year. He won several awards for his running ability and continued to run into his early nineties in many local competitions.
He left many pieces of furniture and wood carvings to his family as a legacy of his talent in woodworking. Other interests included birding and golfing with his wife Dorothy, photography, family travel and exploring various historical sites across the world.
Mr. Carlson was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Dorothy Roberts Carlson. He is survived by his daughters, Deborah Lynn Carlson and husband, Donald J. Carlson of Graham, NC, and Cathleen Carlson Reynolds and husband, Wayne C. Reynolds of Williamsburg, VA, and five grandchildren.
A Graveside Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at Peninsula Memorial Park.