Businessman, basketball player and promoter.
Born at Rivers on 14 November 1919, son of American immigrants Iry Leonard Carlson (1888-1978) and Clara Erickson (1890-1965), he worked for 48 years for the biscuit and confectionary firm, Paulin-Chambers Company, beginning as an office boy and working his way up to General Manager and Vice-President. He was active in numerous sports throughout his lifetime, notably basketball. The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame described his contributions to basketball this way:
“Between 1948 and 1953, the Civic Auditorium at the corner of St. Mary's and Memorial Blvd. was where Winnipeggers gathered long before they invented The Forks, and it was a lot of fun. Carlson had the basketball team, the Paulins, and Jack Shapira had the band, a 12-piecer, and the union made beautiful music. They shot hoops and danced the night away every Saturday, at the Aud meanwhile keeping the Paulins team together with gate receipts.
When Paulins played the Vancouver Cloverleafs in a three-game Western Canada Championship series at the Aud they drew 9,000 fans, and all because of the inimitable Carlson entrepreneurship. When Paulins needed $7,000 to get to Brazil for the World Championships, “Whitey” organized donkey baseball games, auto races, halftime entertainment at Bomber games, and he also had the savvy to ask Eddie Cass, “Mr. Baseball”, for help. Between the two of them, they got it done.
His passion for basketball knew no bounds, and neither did his energy. His hoops started at Kelvin High, then onto Toiler Juniors, then Toiler Seniors, one thing led to another and he wound up forming Paulins, which was easy because his firm, Paulin Chambers, agreed to pay the bills. Paulins operated three teams simultaneously - Junior, Senior B and Senior A. The Senior As won a national championship. One of the founders of the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame, “Whitey” Carlson refereed Senior and Varsity games for 12 years.”
In 1996, he was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame as a player, coach, builder, and referee. He and wife Eleanor Hannah Quinlan (1921-2000) had four children. He died at Winnipeg on 6 July 2004 and was buried in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.
Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [Clara Carlson], Winnipeg Tribune, 26 March 1965, page 24.
Obituary [Iry Leonard Carlson], Winnipeg Free Press, 30 October 1978, page 44.
Obituary [Eleanor Hannah Quinlan Carlson], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 April 2000.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 July 2004.
Honoured members database, Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
Allan M. “Whitey” Carlson, FindAGrave.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 15 March 2020
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