Raymond G. Carlson

April 24, 1935 – Jan. 10, 2024

Dr. Raymond G. Carlson passed away peacefully in his home on January 10, 2024, with family by his side. He was 88. Ray, loved by all, will be remembered for his kind heart and sharp mind.

He was born in New Haven, Connecticut to Gunnar E. Carlson, and Helny Mattfolk Carlson.

Ray attended Hopkins School in New Haven, where he developed a love of physics, chemistry, and football, graduating in 1952 as class Valedictorian. He went on to Yale University with a full scholarship, played on the freshman football team, then took up fencing. He was on Yale’s Varsity Fencing Team for 3 years, winning the Harvard-Yale-Princeton Championships and placing third in the Eastern Championships twice. Ray earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1956 and went on to receive both his Masters and Doctorate from Yale in Mechanical Engineering. He was a member of Sigma Xi and Tau Beta Pi honorary societies.

An internship with Sikorsky Helicopter led to his being hired by Igor Sikorsky and a 33-year career with the company, eventually retiring as Head of Advanced Research and Development in 1997. At Sikorsky, he was proud to be part of the award-winning team that developed the Health Usage & Monitoring System (HUMS) for helicopters, a safety system now found on almost all new large helicopters. He also received the American Helicopter Society Award for helicopter research, has patented several inventions, and he was lead on Sikorsky’s design team for the Black Hawk helicopter. Along the way he became a mentor to many young engineers. He was grateful to have found a profession he loved.

Ray served 38 years as the treasurer for the Swedish Aid Society, distributing aid to needy families and food pantries in the greater New Haven area. He was also a judge for the Connecticut High School Science Fair and was an officer in local Cub and Boy Scout troops in Orange.

In 1973, Ray married his second wife Roberta M. Mattson. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, his two children from his first marriage with Penny Leisenring Vaughn, Betsy Carlson and David Carlson, his three stepchildren Verne (Catherine) Mattson, Christopher (Tracy) Mattson, Robbie (Gene) Bagnoli, and 11 grandchildren: Sean (Alyssa), Elizabeth, Nicholas, Molly, Andy, Robby, Gus, Anders, Abbie, Emmie, and Jack.

Ray loved traveling and the outdoors, especially skiing with his family. He enjoyed the theater, the Yankees and games of bridge. He was a proud Yale alumnus and spent many Saturdays at Yale Bowl rooting on the Elis. Perhaps his favorite place was his summer home at Great Pond on Cape Cod. Ray and Roberta met lifelong friends and enjoyed many visits from their grandchildren during the summers there.
Services will be held at the Orange Congregational Church on Saturday, February 24 at 11:00 a.m.

Published by The New Haven Register on Feb. 3, 2024.