Albert F. Carlson, of Jefferson, died peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones on Feb. 18, after a courageous battle with cancer. Al, also known by most of the free world as “Farf” (short for Fathers-Father in Swedish), was born March 16, 1946 – the son of two Swedish immigrants.
Farf was certainly one of kind. As a young man he was a juvenile delinquent who as a result of his exceptional artistic ability was saved from a path quickly leading to a life as a Hells Angel, or more than likely one of their more tame counterparts. The path he did take led him to continue his education at Paier College of Art in New Haven, Conn.
As was the case for many a young man in the late 60s, Farf was drafted and served his country as a willing but unenthusiastic member of the U.S. Army. It is with little argument from both Farf and all his fellow service members that he was one of the worst soldiers the U.S. Army has ever seen – a recognition which most likely still stands today.
His exceptional artistic abilities came to his rescue again when he learned he was to be an illustrator for the Army. Yes… height of Vietnam…. drafted… illustrator. Farf’s service involved markers, pens, and paint brushes, much more than it did rifles, grenades and foxholes. Farf broke all molds he was expected to conform to. As an immigrants’ son, he was expected to follow his family footsteps as a tool and die maker. Instead, much to the chagrin of his family he chose a path as an artist.
His professional career took him to Madison Avenue in New York City where he was an art director working for many of the leading ad agencies. At a time well before the aid of Photoshop and computers, he and his exceptional artistic abilities were relied on for drawing story boards, print ads, labels, packaging, and art directing the filming of commercials for his clients. Some of the accounts he worked on were Vantage Cigarettes, Panadol, Campbell’s Soup (remember the Campbell’s Soup kids, that was him), Snuggle fabric softener (Snuggle the Bear lived in the “Carlson Household” as we were told in the opening seconds of the ad), Jarlsberg Cheese, Iona College, Citi Bank… the list is extensive.
Upon retiring from his fast paced career which was essentially a real life “Mad Men,” Farf moved full-time to his favorite place on Earth on Damariscotta Lake so he could be close to his grandchildren. Here Farf continued to make deep friendships with any and every one that he met. He took much pride and offered endless support to his brothers in Alcoholics Anonymous. Here he and his exceptional spirit were shared with those just entering recovery, as with those who had been on the road for quite some time. Farf was not stingy with his love and support and if he saw good in you, he gave you his heart. He was a pillar of strength for all who were “Friends of Bill.”
Farf was very fond of travel and his trips took him to nearly every corner of the globe. He was an extremely well-read man who was definitely maddening to play Trivial Pursuit or Words with Friends against. There was little Farf loved more than things that went fast, especially Formula One racing, motorcycle racing, tinkering on his old motorcycles, and his beloved MG Midget. It was pretty obvious that he rode and drove them just in hopes they would break so he could kill hours and hours socializing with his fellow gasoline burning brethren and meticulously fixing and polishing them back up to be better than new. If his bikes didn’t start on the second or god forbid third kick, well – that was just not acceptable. This was all more often than not accomplished while listening to the only rock and roll band he acknowledged the existence of… The Rolling Stones, and drinking copious amounts of Moxie.
Farf was a kind, loving, genuine, giving man who will be deeply missed by all who were so privileged to know him.
He was predeceased by wife, Susan Wood Carlson.
He leaves behind partner and love, Betty Ann Allen of Newcastle; son, Erik Carlson of Edgecomb; granddaughters, Isabel and Amelia Carlson of Edgecomb; brother, Dick Carlson and wife Barbara of Milford, Conn.; brother- and sister-in-law, Jon and Maryanne Wood of Needham, Mass. and Nobleboro; niece, Kate Wood; nephew, Steve Wood and fiancee Jillian Bell; many cousins back in Sweden; and friends, friends, friends of whom there are way too many to count.
There will be a service at 11 a.m., Fri., Feb. 23 at St. Andrew’s Church on Glidden St. in Newcastle. A reception will follow at 1812 Farm in Bristol.
In lieu of flowers, his family requests donations be made to the Lincoln Academy Albert F. Carlson Art Scholarship Fund.
Condolences, and messages for his family, may be expressed by visiting www.StrongHancock.com.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main St., Damariscotta.