Sallie Eileen Carlson

Sallie Carlson, age 62, passed away peacefully on August 9, 2019, at her home in Bloomington, MN, with her beloved family surrounding the bedside.
A Celebration of Life will be on Saturday, August 17, at 11 am, with a time of gathering starting at 9:30 am, at Evergreen Community Church, 2300 E 88th Street, Bloomington. Pastor Brent Knox will preside with a host of family members and friends. Sallie will be laid to rest at a private family burial at Bloomington Cemetery. Memorials are preferred and will be distributed in her memory, by the family.

Sallie Eileen was born on March 14, 1957, in Libertyville, IL, to Ernest and Gladys (Stoltze) Zellmer. She was the younger sister to John, Patricia, Paul and Marilyn and instantly brought light and laughter into the family. Sallie grew up in a small lake community, Sylvan Lake, IL. She enjoyed all aspects of living by the lake and the activities of the different seasons. Sallie attended St. Matthew Lutheran Grade School in Lake Zurich. At the age of 12, her parents answered a call to become missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Sallie went with her parents for training, living in a jungle camp in southern Mexico for several months. Upon returning to the states, her family settled down in Waxhaw, NC at the Wycliffe JAARS base.

After graduating from Parkwood High School in 1974, Sallie furthered her education at Bethany College of Missions, in Bloomington, MN. Her intent was to go into bible translation, but instead, God lead her to stay on staff at Bethany, working in the Bethany House Publishers data processing department, from 1978 to 2002. In 2003 Sallie transitioned into working at Wholesale Art and Framing, for almost 15 years.

While attending Bethany, Sallie meet the love of her life, John Arnold Carlson. On July 4, 1976, they engaged and on August 26, 1977, Sallie and John wedded at Bethany Chapel. They were quickly blessed with a daughter, Deborah and later welcomed a son, Nathan. Spending time with family was most important. The Carlson family enjoyed road trips exploring God’s creation and relished the adventures at the Bethany cabins in Grand Rapids, MN.

Life for Sallie was enriched and blessed becoming a grandma. She loved each grandchild unconditionally. Sallie and John loved to plan special events with them and through the years, have had many great adventures. Each year, she would produce a book of the year’s events with personal stories. Sallie was an amazing grandma, carefully balancing her attention towards each grandchild and valued each moment spent with them. However, like any grandparent, Sallie’s heart broke with the premature and unexpected passing of her grandson, Samuel Winkley (Aug 2016).

Sallie was an exceptional quilter. She made countless quilts for her children, grandchildren and friends, even up to the last months of her life. Sallie even won awards at the Minnesota State Fair. She and John also had a strong interest in photography, especially capturing the wonders of the northern lights. Sallie and John took their passion of photography and have created an online presence of their work at

Throughout life, Sallie had strong faith in God. She was blessed to have instilled this devotion into her children and grandchildren. Even in times of despair, Sallie remained true to her God.

Forever missed and loved by husband, John; daughter, Debby (Dennis) Winkley and their children, Jonathan Winkley, Sarah Winkley, Talia Winkley, Elliot Winkley, Kassandra Winkley, Ian Winkley; son, Nate (Tiffany) Carlson and their children, Malakai Carlson, Joshua Carlson, Annabelle Carlson; mother, Gladys Zellmer; siblings, John (Phyllis) Zellmer, Patricia (James) Pickett, Paul Zellmer, Marilyn (Cliff) Greene; other relatives and friends.

There to greet Sallie home in heaven is her father, Ernest Zellmer and grandson, Samuel Winkley.

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Condolence Messages

  1. I remember her from Bethany Bible school – she spoke much about being from Waxhaw North Carolina. She was a great classmate. I was saddened by hearing of her passing.

  2. Sallie, thank you for good memories of a woman who loved God and her family. I count it a privilege to have worked with you at Bethany House Publishers. You had great ideas and were very much appreciated by those who worked with you.

    Well done, good and faithful servant to the Most High God!

  3. John and family,

    I’m so, so sorry for your emense loss and heartache over the loss of Sallie. I will be praying for you! I pray God’s comfort in ways only He can comfort you at this time. I praise God for Sallie and our friendship through the years and I know you will long for heaven even more. Lord Jesus come quickly!

  4. John and Family we are very sad to hear of Sallies
    Passing. My the Lord bless and protect your family.

    Deepest condolences,

    Jay and Traci Couillard

  5. Doris Alukwe(Kutz)

    Please accept our condolences on the passing of your wife. It was an honor to have known such a great person. may her soul rest in eternal peace. Sincere condolences to you and your family.

  6. My condolences to the family of John. Sorry for the loss, Sallie R I P . We loved you but God loved you so much. You will be missed by the family, friends and neighbors. ESTHER & David kutz

  7. Janet and Corey Okonek

    So sorry for your loss. I’ve only met her once or twice . She was a very lovely lady.

  8. Jim and Sharon Canfield

    Remembering you all with a heavy heart, so sorry for your loss. Remembering Sallie with fond memories of a sweet, wonderful, fun, happy woman of God.

  9. Lance and Karen Wubbels

    We are so very sorrowful of this very great loss in your lives, John, Debbie, Nathan and all your families. We mourn with you, Jesus weeps with you. His heart of pure love knows well the pain of separation in death from a lovely person as Sallie was to all who knew her well and those that maybe didn’t know her so well. You will be comforted as God is with each of you now and as you walk through the rest of your lives with wonderful memories of a life well lived in your wife and mom and grandma. Sallie imprinted our lives with God’s goodness, grace, kindness and humor through her words and actions, and we are grateful. Sallie has left a legacy of God’s utter faithfulness to her through all her life – a wonderful life, rich and abundant! We pray for peace for you in the midst of this very great and deep sadness! Psalm 23, always! You are always in our thoughts and prayers.

  10. Ed & Milta Dudek

    We thank the Lord for Sallie. Milta and I pray that He will grant all the comfort necessary to family and friends during this difficult time of loss.

  11. Jim and Ann Parrish

    Ann and I were so sorry to hear of your loss. I attended BMTC with Sallie (and John) and later worked with her at BHP for many years. Sallie was fully engaged in whatever she was doing. Her mind was amazing – quick, precise, pure and disciplined, with a little humor mixed in. Work challenges were a game to her. In more recent years I was reminded of how wonderful her relationship with John was. I caught you two out for lunch one day and you were deep in conversation – eye to eye. I interrupted you and after a short catching up, came away smiling, thinking, “those two truly enjoy each other’s company.” It was true love. Your life together blessed others. We pray that God will help, comfort and bless you in spite of your great loss. Jim Parrish

  12. Dear John and family,

    We are so sorry. I remember Sallie moving into the girls’ dorm and getting acquainted . We took countless walks in Izaak Walton’s, talking about our pasts, marveling at the beauty God created around, which led into speaking of many eternal matters, and worshiping our Lord Jesus. Yes, there such a twinkle in her eye and she was so ready for a childlike moment of humor! I admired the excellence in her work. I admired her joy in her marriage and family. I am missing my friend.

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