Boise Weekly

Remembering Chris Carlson: 'At Last at Peace With Our Own Mortality'

George Prentice Aug 30, 2018 11:30 AM
Jeremy Lanningham
Chris Carlson
Funeral services for Chris Carlson will be held Friday, Aug. 31, in the northern Idaho community of Kellogg. Carlson, 71, died Aug. 26 at his home in the small town of Medimont, surrounded by family.

There were at least a dozen ways to identify Carlson: an ex-newspaper reporter, press secretary to four-term Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus, director of public affairs at the Department of Interior when Andrus served as its secretary (1977-1980), founder of Gallatin Public Affairs, and author of Cecil Andrus: Idaho's Greatest Governor, featuring priceless anecdotes of his former boss.

In the past several years, Boise Weekly had several long conversations with Carlson, and in every instance he wore his optimism on his sleeve, and sometimes his head, where he often wore a baseball cap of his beloved St. Louis Cardinals.

"I was given a diagnosis of Parkinson's [in 1999]. My neurologist told me at the time that there was one silver lining: Parkinson's sufferers seldom get cancer. But in November 2005, I called him back and said, 'You have one rare bird here.' I was diagnosed with carcinoid neuroendocrine cancer and given six months to live," Carlson told BW in 2011.

Carlson underwent radical chemoembolization treatments for years.

"The longest anybody lived with this cancer is 15 years. The average is just a couple of years. I'm very fortunate," Carlson said in 2011.

Indeed, Carlson kept cancer at bay for 13 valiant years. And on several occasions, Calson would wax poetic about his lakeside home in the the blink-and-you'l-miss-it town of Medimont.

"It's a state of mind that one comes to terms with as they move through life," said Carlson, adding that "Medimont" literally means, "middle mountain. "At this balancing point—this Medimont—we are at last at peace with our own mortality."

A vigil service and rosary in his memory will be held at St. Rita's Catholic Church in Kellogg this evening, and a funeral mass will be at the same church Friday morning. A private internment will be at the Rose Lake Cemetery.

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