Br. George J. Carson, CSV, died on July 25, 1941 in Kankakee, IL from complications resulting from influenza. He was 41.
Br. Carson was born in Kankakee on April 18, 1900. Most of his boyhood was spent in Saunemin, IL where he attended the local church and schools, graduating from high school in 1918. An interest in working with youth prompted him to take up teaching in one of the nearby elementary schools.
As a young man, Br. Carson went to Chicago in 1919 seeking employment. His interest in youth remained and he organized a musical club among young people whom he met.
However, an appeal from Fr. Edward J. Flanagan of BoysTown drew him to Nebraska, where he served for five years as a teacher, choir and band director, as well as supervisor and Fr. Flanagan’s private secretary.
As a consequence, Br. Carson started to considered religious life and under the guidance of Fr. Flanagan, he chose to enter the Clerics of St. Viator in 1935. One year later, Br. Carson professed his first vows on September 8, 1936.
Br. Carson served at St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, IL from 1936 until its closing in 1938, and at Lewis Holy Name Aeronautical School in Lockport, IL, until 1940. His last assignment was at St. Thomas Vocational School in Savannah, GA.
Besides serving in the treasurer’s office and bookstore, Br. Carson also promoted choir and orchestra in all three schools. He had a talent for music and his love of the medium was contagious.
Of all the places he taught, he felt his greatest satisfaction in Savannah, where he worked with young boys that were without homes, parental love or guidance. The band he developed with them was beginning to attract attention and its musical programs were highly regarded. He even received a high word of commendation from Bishop Gerald P. O’Hara of Savannah.
In January of 1941, Br. Carson was taken ill with influenza and he never fully recovered. He was able to return to Kankakee, where he entered the hospital and remained until his death.
Funeral services for Br. Carson were held at St. Patrick Church in Kankakee. His old friend and mentor, Fr. Flanagan came from Nebraska to preach at his funeral. Br. Carson was laid to rest in the Viatorian Community cemetery in Bourbonnais.
Taken from an obituary in the 1941 Annuaire, a publication of the Viatorian General Direction