Passing of Carol Lee Charlson, Mother of Retired Captain Lance Charlson

Carol Lee Charlson
Springfield, Illinois
March 31, 1928 – September 26, 2021

Carol Lee Charlson

Carol Lee McClelland Charlson, 93, of Springfield, IL and Kimberling City, MO, passed at 12:05 a.m. on Sunday, September 26, 2021, at Cedarhurst Senior Living. Carol was also fondly known as “MawMaw” in her grandparenting years and “Clem” to a special few.

Carol was born on March 31, 1928, in Springfield, the daughter of Ralph E. and Laura Katherine (Jones) McClelland. She married Lawrence “Larry” Glen Charlson on December 21, 1947, in Springfield, IL. He preceded her in death on December 15, 2006. The love they shared with each other, their family and friends was the cornerstone of their lives together. They were both known for their loving and caring nature, their generosity, friendliness and willingness to help family, friends and neighbors. Their love of Table Rock Lake was as deep as the lake itself. Carol’s spontaneous imagination, spunkiness and creativity, combined with a sanguine and fun loving personality were woven into all aspects of her life.

She had an immense supply of energy, enthusiasm and kindness. She knew no strangers. She tipped the scale at less than 100 pounds but had an indomitable spirit and an impish smile.

Carol grew up on a farm that has today become the University of Illinois/Springfield. She graduated from Ball Township High School and attended MacMurray College. She worked as a bookkeeper for McDonald’s Corporation; an example of her bountiful energy was most exemplified as she ran payrolls and jogged on a mini trampoline while checks were printing—never an idle moment. Carol loved water sports and boating, walked endless miles up and down the mountain roads, swam laps by the dock for hours at a time every day of the summer and into her 90’s, cooked for family and friends, rode with Larry on his motorcycle and her own, made dioramas of barns and farms, gardened, wrote short children’s stories, and traveled. She was most at home outdoors or in her kitchen, her domain. Her famous and really good spaghetti sauce recipe is included below.

Carol was always focused first and foremost on her family and helping meet their needs, whether it was babysitting with grandchildren, enjoying great grandchildren, or extending an open invitation to visit their home on Table Rock Lake for vacations on the lake she and Larry loved so much. She accompanied any child or adult who wanted to experience Silver Dollar City to the ticket booth, bought their tickets with Larry’s discount retirement card (he had been a tram driver for Silver Dollar City in his retirement) and walked everyone dutifully to the gate—many times returning home, but sometimes joining in for the rides. She did this well into her 80’s with kindness, if not enthusiasm! She rode her John Deere mule through the hills of Kimberling Hills with her pink cowboy hat flying in the wind. She will always be remembered for her kindness to children and animals and her love of horses and the farm she grew up on and her farm in Centralia, Mo. Her favorite plaque was posted in her kitchen, a horse with rider and the adage: “Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly.” She lived that adage.

Carol is survived by two daughters, Pamela J. (Rick) Charlson Speer of Springfield, IL and Cathy L. (Alan) Charlson Creedy of Greensboro, NC; her son, Lawrence G. “Lance” Charlson, II of Kimberling City, MO; four grandchildren, Ben (Erin) Creedy, Laura (David) Corbett, Cori (Aaron) Casteletti and Andrew (Rebecca McKoon) Speer; ten great-grandchildren, Isabelle, Ella Mae, and Frankee Creedy; Bryce, Stacy, Jay, and Kena Corbett; Henry, Hazel, and Leo McKoon-Speer; brother, Logan B. (Margaret) McClelland of Wayne, NE and sister, Lynn (Don) G. Chard of Rochester, IL; sisters-in-law, Mary Lou McClelland and Margaret McClelland and many, many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Laura; husband, Larry; father and mother in law, Chauncey R. and Enid Charlson; sibling Perry McClelland and brothers in law, Donald Chard and Chauncey R. Charlson II and sister in law, Barbara Charlson.

Family held a private ceremony to celebrate Carol’s life.

Carol’s (MawMaw’s) Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
2 lbs. of ground beef
1 bottle of Bennett’s chili sauce (it’s the very best but may substitute another brand)
1 jar of Onofrio’s or Paul Newman’s Friday Sauce
1-3 T brown sugar or to your taste
Salt to taste Pepper to taste
Recipe can easily be doubled and freezes very well. Good on cannelloni, pasta, in stuffed peppers or on gnocci.

Cremation will be provided by Butler Cremation Tribute Center.

Memorial contributions may be made to Heifer Foundation, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Pl., Memphis, TN 38105; or the Animal Protective League, 1001 Taintor Rd., Springfield, IL 62702.

The family is being served by Butler Funeral Home – Springfield, 900 S. Sixth St., Springfield.