Bruce C. Carlson Sr.


Bruce C. Carlson Sr. of Springvale passed away peacefully and with his family by his side on Sunday, July 11, 2021, in Cape Elizabeth at the age of 84.

Bruce was born on July 26, 1936, in Biddeford, to Clarence and Thelma (Lanoue) Carlson. He grew up in Saco, Limerick, Goodwins Mills and Springvale. He attended Sanford High School (Class of ’56) and went on to attend the University of Southern Maine/Gorham State Teachers’ College, where he graduated with a B.S. in Education. He was a proud alumnus of both the Alpha Lambda Beta and Phi Mu Delta fraternities and served as an alumni advisor for many decades. While in college, Bruce met Eleanor Rebecca Hodgkins of Southwest Harbor, and they were married on April 22, 1961, at Notre Dame Church in Springvale. In their 60 years of marriage they were blessed with three children and 10 grandchildren.

Bruce loved his family dearly, both immediate and extended, and enjoyed spending as much time as possible with them. Sunday dinners, holidays and vacations were favorite family times. He loved to sing, and to write poetry and short stories. He loved music and dancing, especially the jitterbug. He was a jokester who was always waiting for the opportunity to make a pun, most of them very bad, but always funny.

Following graduation, Bruce worked at Sanford High School, where he taught English, history and science. He organized and advised the Sanford High School Kiwanis Key Club. After leaving his position at Sanford High, he continued to advise the club for 33 years.

Bruce was a born leader, dedicated to serving his community, and he had a truly prolific career as a public servant. In 1965 he became the youngest person ever elected to the town of Sanford/Springvale Board of Selectmen. He served on the Sanford School Board Committee for 10 years, including three years as chairman, and in the early ’70s he championed the construction of the new Sanford High School. In 1974, Bruce ran for the Maine State Legislature. After the campaign he directed a program for the Maine Criminal Justice Planning and Assistance Agency. His program was selected by the Justice Department as the most outstanding in the nation. When offered the chance to organize a national version of his program in Washington, D.C., Bruce declined the opportunity and chose to keep his family in Maine and to focus on his community. Bruce’s community contributions include but are not limited to managing the Sanford Downtown Beautification Project, chairing the government study commission that developed the new Sanford Town Charter, Crime Stoppers, Dollars for Scholars, Jaycees, Sanford/Springvale Merchant Association, March of Dimes, Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, St. Thomas Development Council and the Knights of Columbus. He was particularly proud of receiving the Kiwanis Citizen of the Year Award for 1979-1980.

In addition to teaching and civic participation Bruce also owned a taxi business, owned rental properties, managed a Montgomery Ward Store and was the director of the Southwest Harbor/Tremont Chamber of Commerce.

Bruce was a devoted lifelong Democrat and frequently volunteered his time campaigning. He never missed the chance to mention his political acquaintances: Governors Muskie, Curtis and Brennan and Sens. Mitchell and Cohen.

He was a dedicated Catholic and an active participant of Notre Dame Church in Springvale, and then a parishioner of St. Peter’s Church in Manset and Holy Family Church in Sanford.

Bruce was predeceased by his mother, Thelma, his father, Clarence, and sister Joanne. He is survived by his wife, Rebecca, of Springvale, his son Bruce and his wife, Julie, of West Chester, Pa., his daughter Kristin and her husband, Jeff, of Portland, Maine, and his son Ross and his wife, Sarah, of Suwanee, Ga. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren: Autumn, Audrey, Brian, Savanna, Eve, Julia, Jesse, Finn, Elliot and Miles.

A time of visitation was held on Wednesday, July 28, at Black Funeral Home, 580 Main St. in Springvale. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Thursday, July 29, at Notre Dame Church in Springvale.

Arrangements are under the direction of Black Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, Sanford-Springvale.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to his favorite place, St. Thomas School, 69 North Ave., Sanford, ME 04073.

Arrangements are under the direction of Black Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, Sanford-Springvale.

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