George A. Carson, 83, of Olathe, Kansas, passed away on September 15, 2022. He was born the fifth of six children and the first son of Harold and Mary (Colvin) Carson of Hamilton, Kansas, on January 30, 1939. After graduating valedictorian of Hamilton High School in 1957, George attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, where he earned degrees in engineering.
George married Vicky Long, also of Hamilton, Kansas, in June of 1961. The couple raised three children before divorcing in 1990. In 1996 George married Mary Lou Wood Shoemaker who sadly preceded him in death in 2019.
George joined the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) in 1962, embarking on a long and distinguished career as an industrial hygienist. During his service, he earned an MPH and a PhD in environmental health at the University of Minnesota and reached the rank of full Colonel. Through the investigation and remediation of a wide variety of workplace hazards and dangers Dr. Carson prevented countless worker injuries and illnesses. His decades-long service supporting worker safety and health included assignments from Indian Health Services in Washington State, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Kansas City, Missouri.
In 1986 Dr. Carson retired from the USPHS and began a second career with Black & Veatch. He started an occupational safety and health program while working for the Kansas City engineering construction company. He also taught University of Kansas continuing education courses on the safe removal of hazardous waste, including asbestos and lead abatement. He retired in 2001 and filled his remaining years with endless projects. George spent many hours volunteering with his wife at the Kansas State University Olathe Horticultural Center as the resident beekeeper, establishing apiaries and troubleshooting honeybee concerns.
George was a life-long automobile mechanic, skilled builder, and enthusiastic tinkerer who generously shared his talents, advice, and time. Very little was beyond his ability to repair or build, from a 1957 Pontiac to a solar-powered gate. George’s generosity and mentorship extended beyond his own children and grandchildren to his extended family, neighbors, and friends. Whether at the lake fixing watercraft or shooting fireworks, repairing the latest damage from car accidents or restoring life to classic cars, passing down the knowledge he learned from his father about bees to the next generation, or supporting others as they navigated grief and loss, he was always there, quietly teaching and could always be counted on. A patriarch in the best sense of the word, he championed family, supported community and church organizations, and touched a great many lives. His loss is profoundly felt.
He is survived by two elder sisters, Mary Ann Freeman and Lila Fry; daughter Valorie L. Carson; daughter Mary Kay Carson and son-in-law Tom Uhlman; son A. Bradley Carson and Pam Hammons; stepdaughter Lisa C. Barb; grandchildren Ashley C. Barb, Megan H. Barb, and Noah George Basso.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, September 24, 2022, at 11:00 AM (visitation begins at 10:00 AM) at Grace United Methodist Church, 11485 Ridgeview Rd., Olathe, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in George A. Carson’s name to: Extension Master Gardeners, Johnson County Extension Education Foundation, 11811 South Sunset Drive, Olathe, KS 66061.
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