John left us too soon on September 26th, 2019, the result of a tragic accident. He was born November
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4th, 1966 to Ron and Susan Hagan. Susan later remarried Harry E. Carlson and John was adopted along
with his little sister Julie. John attended Central Heights, Lewis & Clark, and Billings West High School,
graduating in 1985.
John worked for Bill Hancock at Wild Bird Resources before attending Billings Vo-Tech and learning welding skills. He worked for Anderson Steel for many years and began operating heavy equipment with Corcoran Construction and Northern Line Layers. John then worked for State Line Contractors. He was an award-winning backhoe operator and enjoyed the work. John lived in Edgar and Fromberg, worked for Wetstein Farms and was active with Edgar Volunteer Fire Department.
Since 2004, John worked at Montana Rail Link as a carman. He married LouAnn Myers in 1992; they later
divorced. John was an avid outdoorsman—fishing, camping, hiking and hunting, including Safaris in
Africa. Never out-fished, never a tag unfilled, John was most at home in the mountains or on the water,
his dogs by his side. His favorite places were in the Beartooths, namely Hellroaring Plateau, where the
best family memories are always present. John loved all sports, the Minnesota Vikings and his Football
Day in America. He played baseball, basketball, football and wrestled. John once met Evel Knievel and
got his autograph. He also signed Dale Earnhardt’s memorial.
John’s trophy collection from arm wrestling and wrist wrestling is staggering, including state titles and assisting with the production of a movie. You knew you were special to him if you got a smoked turkey for Christmas, or onions and corn from his garden. He is preceded in death by his father Ron and mother Susan. He is survived by his wife, June Phillips and her son Brock Watson, his father Harry E. Carlson, sister Julie Blakeslee (Buzz), brother Karl Carlson (Dawn), niece and nephews Abigail Carlson, Tristan Carlson and Nicholas Totten, and numerous cousins. He will be greatly missed by all, including special friend Dave Stapleton and many lifelong friends.
Cremation has taken place. Celebration of Life will be held at Smith Downtown Chapel in
Billings on Saturday, October 5 at 11:00 a.m., with reception following. Memorials may be made to
Edgar Volunteer Fire Dept. or Fromberg and Bridger EMS Services. Condolences for the family may be shared at www.smithfuneralchapels.com.