Craig E. Carlson, 61, passed away August 1, 2019

Craig E. Carlson, 61, of Benton Harbor, passed away, Thursday, August 1, 2019 at Spectrum Health Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph.

A Celebration of Life Gathering will be held, Monday, August 5, 2019 from 4:00 until 8:00 P.M., with Elks Funeral Rites conducted at 7:00 P.M., at the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Elks Lodge #541, 601 Riverview Dr. Benton Harbor. Memorial donations in Craig’s name may be made to the Ray Carlson Memorial Fund. Those wishing to sign Craig’s Memory Book online may do so at

Craig was born March 29, 1958 in St. Joseph to Raymond & June (Watters) Carlson. He graduated from St. Joseph High School, Class of 1976 and played drums in the band. He later joined several other bands and played with Bb King one time, Styx and and a few other bands in his early years. His love of drumming and music followed him throughout his life. Another passion was golf, which he took to the green any chance he got. His best memory was playing Harbor Shores with his son Ryan last year.

Craig had retired from construction where he ran his own company. He also worked at the St. Joseph Benton Harbor Elks 541 as a cook to help them out till they could find a cook, for 5 years! His real passion however is the Ray Carlson Memorial which raises money for mentally and physically challenged children in Berrien County. He was the founder and Chairman of this program. He is a Past Exalted Ruler at St Joseph Benton Harbor Elks Lodge 541 where he held many offices. His favorite thing however was spending time with friends and family, especially the lights of his life, his son Ryan and Grandson Cameron.

Craig is survived by his son Ryan Carlson of St. Joseph; his grandson Cameron J. Carlson; his sister Chalaine Nelson of Benton Harbor; two nieces-Carrie Nelson & Alanna Fellner; great nieces & nephews-Shawn, Shane Lizzy, & Eian Nelson, Landon & Savannah Ray; and long-time friends Samantha “Sam” & Alan Bock of St. Joseph & Rob & Karri Stauffer of Coloma. He was preceded in death by his parents, and by his nephew Jason Nelson in 2006, and his True Best Friend, his Boxer Kahiah in March 2019. 

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