EULOGY for DOC CARSON
Doc was born Arvin Dean Carson on February 20, 1948 in Clay center, Kansas, to John and Leona Carson. He had two older brothers, Butch and Mike (John Verne and Roger) with whom he enjoyed growing up. They shared many adventures at the Longford , Kansas farm and also at the small country R-5 school they attended. In 1959 the family moved to Lamar, where Doc made new friends and attended the R-13 school. It was at that school where Doc encountered Vincent McNeil, a teacher who was to have a profound influence upon Doc's life. It was Mr. McNeil who introduced Doc to the sciences, and to an organized and organizational way of looking at life and at reality.
High school years took place in Minneapolis, Kansas. While a time of carefree living and much fun, it also included necessary farm chores. Doc loved cars, and he and some friends even built one from the ground up. An average student in high school, Doc did not initially even consider going to college, planning instead to marry a sweetheart and become a mechanic for a local implement dealer. With that in mind he volunteered for the military draft and entered into Army service in 1966, just three months after his high school graduation. That decision proved to be a fortunate act of fate.
Army boot camp and subsequent 18-months of service in Germany, including his interaction with fellow soldiers, enabled Doc to realize his potential and to determine to expand his horizons and ambitions. While in Europe Doc had opportunities for travels, and the exposure to foreign lands, cultures, architecture and history proved to be very enlightening. The art and cathedrals of Italy, and the art and the warmth of conversation discovered in England remained with Doc as significant influences.
During his service years he lost his high school sweetheart, but gained a desire to attend college, benefiting from the GI bill in doing so. College years proved to be a great learning adventure and a time of expansion for Doc. It was during those years that he met Sue, while working on her father's combine. They courted, fell in love, and married in 1970. Together they moved out to the country in 1972 and soon developed plans to build their own home, a process that began in 1975 and was completed in one year. All of the carpentry, plumbing and wiring was done by Doc and Sue, with occasional help from family and friends. Doc's studies continued throughout that time, and in 1976 he completed his degrees in Psychology and Philosophy. He always said that qualified him to mow lawns.
Rural Douglas County provided the opportunity for Doc to be introduced to 4-H work, through the influence of Community Leader Mary Nell. Doc was to become the leader of the woodworking program, a labor of love for some twenty years. In the meantime, Doc's reading of favorite philosopher Henry David Thoreau helped him come to the realization that if he was working all year long, he must be doing something wrong. So, Doc and Sue decided to enter into their own business. Doc's Mowing Service started in 1977 and has served them well for thirty years. The business enabled them to use winters for certain routine things such as equipment maintenance and working on the bookkeeping. More importantly, it also provided the time and the opportunity for travel, for study, for spending time with friends and family, and simply to enjoy their home and muse over the events life.
Doc had a love for teaching and also learning from kids in the community who either worked with them in the mowing business, or whom he encountered in his 4-H endeavors. But not only work was important – it was important to also create time for play, for swimming in the pond, flying toy airplanes, or sledding in the winter time. Doc taught a Life Skills class in Lawrence, and started a Winter Community Book discussion group with some local friends. He was also engaged in an Essay Symposium with three other friends. Doc and Sue together published their newsletter, Perspectives. Through published conversations with the fictional character of "Fred, the neighbor", Doc created a vehicle for exploring and expressing his ideas and insights. Doc loved the process of writing, publishing and even promoting his novel Gone Shopping: an Odyssey of Discovery. Throughout his final months, Doc and Sue continued work on the book of their mowing experiences culminating in the book, The Cutting Edge.
We will miss Doc, and his many provoking questions. Life wasn't always easy around him because he expected a lot of himself and of others. He looked for challenges and attacked them with relish, all as being a part of leading a full and ever expanding life. Though shortened by cancer, Doc's life was indeed full. Doc loved his life because of its very quality, and because all of you were there with him. He truly experienced the love from his many friends throughout these last few months, and that made his journey so much better.
- Sue Carson -
February 21, 2008
The Opportunity to Importune
I guess if I could impart one thing to everyone it would have
to be the facility of reason. I say this mainly because I
believe it would alleviate much suffering. Reason gives us
the analytical perspective and helps us decide between the
many choices we face. Through reflective inquiry a person
can evaluate the best path for his life or even the best
product to buy. Reason checks the impulses that makes us
less than human and carefully evaluates situations. I often
wonder if nations would ever go to war if they were filled
with reasonable people and reasonable leaders. It seems we
can ponder and inquire or live at the whim of our impulses.
Which would be the better way to live and which would lead
to the least suffering?