Northcoast Tree Care Biographies

Carl Marx Carlson

Carl was born 1946 in Chicago to a master blacksmith father working for International Harvester.  After graduating from high school in 1964, he entered the US Navy, serving six years.  His final position was as power plant chief machinery operator on a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Upon leaving the Navy, he took a 6 week intensive class in old time blacksmithing.

“I joined the Navy to avoid the draft and learn some mechanical skills.  This I certainly did, but they were quite different than blacksmithing, which is what I really wanted to do”.

In the early ‘70’s, Carl attended Chabot College where he majored in art.  Since that time, he has applied his art skills to his metal work, sign painting and a multitude of cartoon drawings. But like most artists, he had to do other things to pay the bills.

In the 1970’s,  Carl ran a blacksmith shop, fixed cars, did carpentry, plumbing and just about anything else to keep his growing family fed.  He delivered 4 of his 5 children with no midwife, still married to their mother after three decades.

“I lived in the String Creek watershed for almost three decades and fixed just about anything for everyone.”

Between 1980 and 90, he took a more normal job at the hospital in Ukiah.  There he worked on the grounds and building crew, doing whatever it took to keep the place running.

“I had the night shift for a long time.  It was pretty disruptive to family life and I never quite got used to it.  Fortunately, nights were generally slow, so we got to nap a lot”.

It was as this job was ending that he met his new neighbor John.  After some preliminary ventures, the concept of starting a tree business became attractive.

“I knew very little about trees at the time, other than they made good firewood.  But I was tired of fixing cars and needed something new to keep my interest perked.  Besides, tree pitch felt better than car grease”.

Carl’s other main interest was tai chi chuan (a form of martial arts).  This he had practiced for over two decades.  It was this discipline that kept his physical form, helping him with the rigorous challenges of tree work.

“I’m the oldest guy on the crew, but I can keep up with the youngsters.  I try to be humble about that and not embarrass them”.
Being of Swedish descent, his brute strength does come in handy.  And with his mechanical skills, everything broken gets Carl’s attention.  He was voted “Top Fella” by his crew mates.

Carl’s business card pretty much says it all:  Tai Chi, Tree Work, Rocket Science, Black Smithing, Ba Gua, Plumbing, Dog Wrestling, Firewood, Chi Gung, Electrical, Mid Wifery, Mechanics, Mysteries Explained, Autos bought/sold, Fortunes told, Problems solved, Attitude Upgrades, Generators fixed, Donkeys trained, Cartoons drawn, Houses built, Reality Adjustments, Broken Hearts Mended.

His motto:  "Order is for those too lazy to search."


Ling Sinclair

John Muir Phillips