Dorothy Carlson, 100, borough clerk

Dorothy W. Carlson
Dorothy W. Carlson
Posted: February 13, 2014

When she retired as clerk and controller of Stratford in 1997, the town elders named the place where she had worked for 40 years the Dorothy Carlson Borough Hall.

"She loved it," her son, Barry, said. "It was by far the appropriate gift."

When she turned 100, a physician at Kennedy University Hospital in Stratford questioned her, her son said, "to assess how sharp she was."

And when he asked in what town they were at the moment, she answered, "What town? We're in my town."

On Thursday, Feb. 6, Dorothy Wood Carlson, 100, of Stratford, died at her home there.

In 1982, the Municipal Clerks' Association of New Jersey named her the New Jersey clerk of the year, her son said.

Born in New Paltz, N.Y., Mrs. Carlson attended Haddonfield High School but had to leave in the 10th grade, to help support her parents by doing secretarial work at Curtis Publishing Co. in Philadelphia.

She married Carl Carlson in 1932 and for the most part became a stay-at-home mother, her son said.

But in 1956, while the family was living in Chesilhurst, she became a part-time municipal clerk there, working from home.

Her life changed in 1957. She turned 44, the family moved to Stratford, and she became the full-time borough clerk within months.

Sometime in the 1970s, her son said, the growing town expanded her job and gave her the title of clerk-controller.

In the early 1980s, he said, Rutgers University invited her to teach a course on local government at its Camden campus. She did that until she retired in 1997.

"It was primarily a night class, and one that you had to take to become a municipal clerk," he said.

In retirement, she taught Sunday school classes at the Stratford United Methodist Church.

Twice - once as a 100th birthday present - she was the grand marshal of the Fourth of July parade in Stratford.

Besides her son, Mrs. Carlson is survived by two granddaughters and four great-grandchildren. Her husband of 65 years died in 1997.

Viewings and visitations were set from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, at the Eugene J. Zale Funeral Home, 712 N. White Horse Pike, Stratford, and from 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at Stratford United Methodist Church, Central and Union Avenues, Stratford, before an 11 a.m. funeral there. Burial is to be in Atco Cemetery.

Donations may be sent to Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, Suite 300, 5 Eves Dr., Marlton, N.J. 08053.

Condolences may be offered to the family at

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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