Joel, Sue & Jackie Carlson, Uncle Derek, Aunt DeEtte, Dara & Dylan Carlson,
Aunt Cami, Uncle Jeff, Kylee & Kaelon Lattomus, Grandma Ann Carlson,
Grandma Liz Molnar, The Culbertson Family, Great Aunt Betty Potter,
Great Aunt Dorothy Easley, Great Aunt Barbara Schafer, The Schafer Family,
Bill & Sherri Schafer, Alan, Debbie, Heather & Alycia Moore Mrs. Shirley
Moore, John & Vicki Swift, Aajay Karim, Josh Massee, Gracy Schmidt &
Family, The Donley Family, The Denton Family, Maddie Bergmann,
The Brumlow Family, The DeGiovanni Family, Franks Restaurant, Mark and
Robbin Hanson, Mrs. Loretta Heard, Ms. Deanna Reiter, Mrs. Traci Babb.
Although Jesse Carlson was only 18 when he died, he was already a proven
falconer with skills.
“He had a way with these birds, his father, Joel, said. “He could take a wild animal and turn it into a
farm animal — he could make it docile. In 10 days, he could take a bird up with both hands and put
it on his bare arm. Changing jesses on a perch without a hood was no problem. He could walk up
and do anything you’ve got to do. You didnt even have to tie her down. That bird was so calm it was
Jesse was one of those energetic, happy teenagers often described as high-spirited and adventurous.
His mother, Sue, said he was a charmer, a bit mischievous, and was most comfortable in bare feet, tan skin, no shirt and lifeguard shorts.
Photos and videos posted on the Internet by his friends only strengthen that description.
“His overall demeanor was to have fun and make everyone feel happy, his mom said.
“He was always smiling, even when he was in trouble or having a bad day, said his sister, Jackie.
Jesse worked for the city as a lifeguard for three years. He was a “swimming freak, his dad said, as well as a good diver and a skateboard
junkie. With no time for television, he liked fishing, hunting and hiking. But he loved his dirt bike.
His dad said he inherited that drive and ambition.
“We’re all avid hunters and sports-seekers — adrenaline junkies, he said. “He was a nut when it came to going fast. They say the apple
doesnt fall far from the tree. Well, he fell right down the trunk and landed on the root at the base of the trunk.
Jesse also inherited the love of falconry. His grandfather loved animals, particularly birds, and people would bring him injured birds. Any
bird of prey was worth salvaging, Joel said of his own dad. They even had a pair of kestrels that flew loose in the house when he was growing
Joel took that love from Jesse’s grandfather and would do falconry presentations for students who had been suspended, with the goal
of getting kids to stay in school and stay out of trouble. The bird was the hook to grab their attention. Jesse would often help his dad,
sometimes giving presentations to his own classmates.
And though Jesse had so many interests, it so often came back to his bird.
“He went from dirt bikes to falconry to skateboarding, hunting or fishing, his sister said. “Everywhere he went he wanted to explore. He
couldn’t sit still. But after he got his falconry license,
it was nothing but the bird. He could sit here on the
couch and hold her for hours.
He loved to take his red-tail out to hunt the golf course
and other areas. If someone stopped to talk to him
about his bird, he would often just make up a line
of wild BS — he would rather just be flying it than
talking about it. The bird itself liked rabbits and even
an occasional pigeon, which is somewhat unusual for a
red-tailed hawk. But, boy did that bird like rattlesnakes.
The whole rattlesnake.
And people sure liked Jesse. After he tragically died in
a late-night, one-vehicle dirt bike accident, even his
family was surprised at how many lives their son had
touched with his “notorious smile” and his energy.
Nearly 600 people turned out for his memorial service,
including many adults whom his dad said he didn’t
even recognize.
Reminiscences: Joel, Sue and Jackie Carlson