Fairhaven Blog

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Meet the Staff: Lou Carlson

Charity Gallardo - Tuesday, January 08, 2013

After nearly 21 years of service at Fairhaven Memorial Park, Family Service Counselor Lou Carlson can truly be said to exemplify our motto of “We serve from our hearts.” He has served families at their time of need as well as in advance of need here at Fairhaven. He has officiated at many local weddings including numerous ones at Waverley Chapel and he is deeply involved in his community. He also serves as Fairhaven’s Master of Ceremonies for the Easter and Memorial Day events and is always an ambassador for the company.

A native of Washington State, Lou came to Fairhaven with a background in service. Raised in the Episcopal Church, where he met his wife Karen, Lou later became an ordained Eastern Catholic Priest in 1979 after completing seminary at Saint Thaddeus Eastern Catholic Seminary in Everett, Washington. Lou and Karen made the decision to move to California in 1985 while sunning on the beach in Hawaii as a blizzard raged back home in Seattle! When he met the Family Service Manager at Fairhaven, she thought his background made him an excellent candidate to be a Family Service Counselor.

Lou’s office shelves are filled with mementoes collected over the years from the many families he’s been privileged to serve. Families would often make a special trip to Fairhaven to bring him something to remember them by; a Hannukah menorah, a display of silk tropical flowers, a piece of original art by a child and a small collection of books on various religious traditions are among the many gifts of love he’s received from families. Those families are one of the reasons he’s been here so long.

Among the other reasons for Lou’s longevity are the staff and atmosphere at Fairhaven. During his tenure he’s watched the current management team build a company spirit of teamwork and collegiality while constantly striving to offer outstanding “internal” as well as “external” customer service. He cites the credo of “honoring and embracing each family as if they were our own” as a goal he embraces and shares with each and every one of his co-workers. Lou also mentions the beauty of the park and the facilities as one of the reasons for his long tenure. It would be difficult to give up working at a place where a mere glance out the window provides scenes of serenity and peace.

Lou doesn’t stop serving others when the workday ends. He is quite active in several local charitable and community service organizations, activities which his wife wholeheartedly supports. Currently, Lou is Treasurer of the Vietnam War Museum of America Foundation, a Garden Grove organization committed to opening a world class museum about the Vietnam War. He also serves as the Chancellor of the Priory of Our Savior (Los Angeles) of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, a Christian charity that financially supports several area youth programs, as well as orphanages in the Holy Land. SMOTJ is an international charitable organization which has a seat at the United Nations. He is the State Chaplain for the Sons of the American Revolution and will become their national Chaplain in July 2013. He’s also served on the boards of the Santa Ana Historical Society and the Heritage Museum of Orange County.

Despite all his community involvement, Lou finds deep personal satisfaction in serving families at times of great need and great joy in their lives. He has discovered that guiding families through the tumult of emotions at the death of a loved one builds strong relationships that last for many years and bring families back to Fairhaven Memorial Park the next time they have a need. He’s made a multitude of friends over the years through his position as Family Service Counselor.

It’s the happy, joyful times in a family’s life that also bring fulfillment to Lou as a wedding officiant. He enjoys meeting with the bride and groom and offering basic marital advice and assistance with planning the ceremony. On the day of the wedding, when the bride and groom are nervous and scared as the wedding begins, Lou finds satisfaction in being able to smile at them and soothe their fears. He especially loves the weddings he’s conducted at Waverley Chapel on the grounds of Fairhaven. He says that the venue lends itself perfectly to the special needs that some weddings demand from special flowers to live music, wild decorations, video taping and more.

With all the many ways Lou Carlson serves Fairhaven’s families, Waverley Chapel’s brides and grooms, and the many community organizations and charities he’s involved in, you’d think he wouldn’t have time for much else. However, he has a giant DVD collection and a large library of history and theological books that he makes regular use of when he’s ready to relax. He even finds time to travel on occasion!

Even after nearly 21 years of service, Lou’s dedication to Fairhaven’s families shines through with every funeral and memorial service he helps arrange.  He says he will never forget the privilege he’s been given by God to serve humanity at an hour of their greatest need in this beautiful place, with great co-workers and a dedicated management team to support and provide encouragement not just to the staff but to every family that walks through the doors.


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