Cover photo for Lee Carlson's Obituary
1981 Lee 2018

Lee Carlson

October 20, 1981 — April 15, 2018

Lee William Carlson, 36, passed away April 15, 2018 after a short but valiant battle with cancer. Born October 20, 1981, he grew up in the Prairie Elk and Circle communities, and as a kid devoted countless hours to learning to rope, ride, shoot guns and baskets, and play the fiddle and tuba. As he grew into adulthood, he left the tuba behind in favor of his guitar and managed to artfully craft a life doing those things he had always loved. After graduating from Circle High School in 2000, he pulled a short hitch at MSU-Bozeman before hitting the road in search of ranch jobs. He returned to Bozeman in 2001 to attend horseshoeing school and from then on traveled with his forge and tools, shoeing and trimming horses everywhere he went. And he went a lot of places, from Texas to Montana, Kansas to California, and even a couple trips to Europe. Of all the places he lived and traveled, Lee loved big, open, high desert country the best, particularly eastern Oregon and Nevada. He worked on too many ranches to name, growing in skill as he went. He never bragged about his abilities, but by all accounts, he was a top hand in any setting. He was also a tremendous friend to many. He was funny and witty and the life of any gathering, while at the same time able to cut through superficiality and deeply engage with people. The list of those who consider Lee one of their best and dearest friends is enviably long and a testament to a life well lived.In addition to a host of wonderful friends, Lee leaves behind his parents, Ernie and Susie Carlson, brother Shanon Moline, sister Linzy Carlson, nieces Guildy, Hadley, Talby, and Paisley Browning, and two grandmothers, Pearl Nickels and Mavis Hill. In all his journeys, Lee lived his life on his own terms, apologetically authentic, never as an act of rebellion, but as the truest expression of himself. He fit more real and enduring friendships, more adventures, more travels, and more fun into his short life than most people twice his age. He will long be remembered for his honesty, his depth of character, his steadfast friendships, his abilities with horses and livestock, and his songs and stories, not to mention his perfectly seasoned cast iron pans and his razor sharp pocket knives. If it is true that all one can take with him are the character and relationships built in this life, then Lee lived life as a millionaire in every way that counted. Those who loved him will miss him forever, thankful to have known him and thankful for his rich life. A memorial service will be held for Lee Saturday May 12th at 5:00 p.m. at the Vet’s Club in Circle, with a meal and dancing to Sam Platts and the Kootenai Three following the service. All are welcome to come celebrate and remember Lee!
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