Cover photo for Carl Steven Gilbertson's Obituary
Carl Steven Gilbertson Profile Photo
1951 Carl 2023

Carl Steven Gilbertson

March 29, 1951 — November 15, 2023


Carl Steven Gilbertson, 72, of Polson, MT passed from this life on November 15, 2023, at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, MT.  He was born in a Navy hospital in San Diego, CA in 1951 to Warren and Conchita Gilbertson.

Carl was raised on family farms in Virginia with his four siblings. As part of the farm life, he was involved in the local 4-H Club raising rabbits and sheep. He especially enjoyed model railroading, building extended tracks and tunnels, spending hours of enjoyment. Carl was an ingenious kid, winning a Britannica World Atlas at the age of eight years old after submitting a joke to the local newspaper.

Carl was an accomplished musician in high school and studied music at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. He was selected for All-Regional Band multiple times, representing Spotsylvania Senior High School. He was an honor graduate in 1969 and one of two students commended for their high performance on the 1968 National Merit Scholarship qualifying test. While a member of the band Foxfire in 1970, Carl was the saxophonist featured in the tunes Hard Luck Mary and What Are You Doing in Brooklyn.

While he did not pursue a career in music, Carl was an innovator in his own right. He was best known for building his own 27-foot boat in his backyard in Missoula. The launch of Rumor in 1999 on Flathead Lake was the culmination of eight years of work, including building the trailer and constructing a building for storage. The launch was a party described in his own words “If it floats right side up, we’ll party! If it sinks, we’ll party more.”

After retiring from the University of Montana as a mechanic and spending many years in Missoula, Carl relocated to Polson with Maria, the love of his life. They were married in 2021 and continued a life of sailing and camping together. Their wedding was a celebration of families from across the country joining as one.

Carl was an avid motorcyclist, attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and riding the trails of Montana mountainsides. His many riding friends no doubt have unknown stories that can now be told. He also cherished his furry dog friend Wrangler and his cats that were part of the family.

Carl will be remembered as a cherished husband, brother, and friend to all. His life was well-lived and well-loved.

Carl was preceded in death by his father Warren L. Gilbertson, mother Conchita M. deMedio Gilbertson, and brother Eric L. Gilbertson.

He is survived by his wife Maria, sisters Bonita Gilbertson, Janice Ganoe

(Dennis), Lois Rowland (Stephen), four nieces, one nephew, and six great nephews. Survivors also include three stepdaughters, Saesha Shull, Katrina Shull, and Rachell Shull and 4 step-grandchildren.

Carl was a brilliant and talented man, and his loss is felt by so many in the family and community in which he always lent a hand to neighbors in need.

A Celebration of Life will be held in the spring or summer of 2024.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Carl Steven Gilbertson, please visit our flower store.


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