Walter Vance Carlson, 92, of Hays, passed away peacefully on Sept. 17, 2018, surrounded by family at the Good Samaritan Home in Ellis.
He was born on Nov. 14, 1925, in Falun, the son of Walter and Helga Alice (Blomquist) Carlson.
He graduated from McPherson High School in 1943.
He originally entered McPherson College in the fall of 1943, only to interrupt his education and enter the U.S. Air Force in 1944.
Upon his return to campus, after advancing to the rank of lieutenant during World War II, he graduated in 1950.
He would go on to have a 10-year minor league career in professional baseball both as a pitcher and manager.
He began his high school and small college football and basketball officiating career to supplement his income.
His love of sports led to the decision to accept a football officiating position with the Big 8 Conference in 1958 and three years later, opening Starlite Lanes in McPherson as a bowling lanes proprietor.
He became the first individual to be inducted in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame based on his 39 years as an athletic official in 2003.
Vance is survived by his wife, Margaret (Brungardt) Schmidt-Carlson, Hays, his children; Susan (Steve McCall) of Goodland, Marty Carlson (Deborah) of Snoqualmie, Wash., Neal Carlson (Yunhee) of Kenmore, Wash., and his former wife, Marilyn Carlson of Goodland. His stepchildren; Robert Schmidt, of Lenexa, Donald (Cheryl Baldwin) Schmidt of Lawrence, Lori Schmidt of Dallas, Texas, Jon (Cindy) Schmidt of Leawood, Christa Walter of Gaitersburg, Maryland, and Melissa Schmidt of Hays; six grandchildren; Megan and Jena McCall, Zachary and Gunnar Carlson, and Cody and Jacob Carlson; eight step-grandchildren; Hannah (Daniel) Brockway, Erin (Drew) McDermott, Jacob (Jessica) Schmidt, Graham Huey, William, Isaac and Andrew Schmidt, Neil Walter, and his great-step-grandchild; Max Schmidt.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Hays Memorial Chapel Funeral Home, 1906 Pine Street, and from 9 a.m. until service time on Thursday at the church.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m, on Thursday 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 2703 Fort Street, Hays, with the Rev. Marie Sager officiating.
Burial with military honors by the U.S. Air Force funeral detail will be at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday in the McPherson Cemetery, McPherson.
Memorials are suggested in Vance’s memory to Trinity Lutheran Church, or to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, in care of the funeral home. Condolences and memories of Vance may be shared with the family at www.haysmemorial.com