Although Jeanette Carlson has spent much of her life traveling around the world with her family, her heart has always remained in Chautauqua County.
During a reception at Moon Brook Country Club on September 4, Carlson was presented the 2014 John D. Hamilton Community Service Award for her demonstrated leadership and support in furthering community spirit in the Chautauqua region.
A Jamestown native, Carlson first experienced serving others when she was a sixth grade student at Lillian Dickson Elementary School. “We had soldiers in a veteran’s hospital who had served in World War II and (my teacher) decided we were going to pack shoeboxes with toothbrushes, toothpaste and other personal items to send to them in the hospital. (My teacher) must have recognized my bossiness even at that age,” Carlson said with a laugh, “as many times she would put me in charge.”
After graduating from Jamestown High School, Jamestown Community College and attending SUNY Fredonia, Carlson was approached by the Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Jamestown to attend the Union Theological Seminary to receive certification as a Church Business Administrator. Carlson was already serving as the Business Manager at the church at this time, and found the experience very helpful in her career. When she retired in 1998, she was honored with the title Business Manager Emerita.
Following retirement, Carlson began volunteering at a number of organizations and serving on the Boards of Directors at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Robert H. Jackson Center, CODE, Inc., and Kids @ Promise/2XL where she was also a founder. In 2002, she was recognized as the United Way Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Kids @ Promise/2XL program.
Today, Carlson and her husband live on the Edgewood Communities campus. She is still very involved with community organizations and currently serves on the Edgewood Communities Social Committee, planning events on campus. Carlson and her husband have two sons, Gordon Jr. and Bradley, and two grandchildren, Emily and Steven.
Recently, Carlson and her husband established the Gordon and Jeanette Carlson Community Fund to support emerging community needs. “Our community is very important to Gordon and I,” she said, “and this (fund) ensures that the two of us will be doing our share.”