Dwaine “Toby” Carlson

Dwaine “Toby” Ellsworth Carlson, 96, passed away surrounded by family on Monday, March 15, 2021 at Valley Senior Living in Grand Forks. Toby was born July 5, 1924 in Northwood, ND the son of Gust and Myrtle (Olson) Carlson. He graduated from Northwood High School in 1943. He joined the Navy in 1944 and served as a tugboat captain, guiding battleships to harbor on the Islands of Tulagi and Leyte in the Pacific. After his honorable discharge in 1946, he returned to North Dakota. He married Melba Tveten on December 18, 1948 in Hatton, ND. They were married 62 years until her passing on May 30, 2011.

Toby and Melba raised five daughters in a lively household filled with laughter. They shared their love and devotion for family and lifelong friends. They loved to dance, and they danced beautifully together. Numerous road trips were taken, usually to California to visit family.

Toby was known for his kindness and quick wit. He had a great love for his children and grandchildren, and they for him. And dogs -- he loved all the “puppies.” Children and dogs were naturally drawn to him.

He is also remembered for his 1950’s/60’s drive-in, “Toby’s It.” Together with Melba they ran a few restaurants in Grand Forks until the late 1970’s, and around that time spent a year in San Diego, opening a restaurant in Old Town. He then sold cars for Rydell’s until his retirement. Not one to ever sit still, he went back to work and drove courtesy car until he was 83 years old. He loved cars -- driving cars, selling cars, talking about cars, cleaning, and detailing cars.

He was a proud member of Kem Temple Shriners for 46 years. With the Shriners he marched in many parades, playing the bass drum. He volunteered at the yearly Shrine Circus. He also played with the Sioux Boosters. He was a member of the Elks Lodge, VFW, and American Legion.

Toby is survived by his daughters: Karen (Wayne) Blegen, Grand Forks; Becky Bryson, Grand Forks; Cindy (Brian) Nedberg, Peoria, AZ; Jeannie (Mark) Ackerman, Ojai, CA; Peggy (Tom) Jude, Seattle, WA; his grandchildren: Cory (Ann) Blegen; Katie (Chris) Weiner; Toby (Laura) Bryson; Tanya Reinhardt; Angie (Cyndi) Nedberg-Freeland; Lukas (Jacky) Ackerman; Adam (Ashley) Jude; Michael (Danielle) Jude; and his great-grandchildren: Carson, Brody and Aria Blegen; Christopher Green, Sky and Harper Weiner; Jerica and Riley Bryson; Noah, Emma, and Zachary Reinhardt; Tanner Nedberg-Freeland; Journey Ackerman; Piper, Grady and Josie Jude; Bailey and Remy Jude; his sisters Fern Virden and Patsy Bjoralt; his sister-in-law Laurie Futterman and a large family of nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his grandson Benjamin Nedberg; his parents; his brothers Floyd, Skip and Fred; his sisters Mendora, Marge and Donna; and his beloved wife, Melba Jean Rose. We are sure they are laughing and dancing together again. He will be dearly missed.

The family wishes to thank the staff at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. It was always comforting to know he was in your care.

Also, a special thank you to Karen from your little sisters. You provided many years of attentive and loving care to dad when we could not always be there. He was so blessed to have you and your family there for him and we are eternally grateful.

The funeral service will be held Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Amundson Funeral Home. Visitation will be held 1 hour prior to the start of the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to be directed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Valley Senior Living on Columbia.

An online register book may be signed at

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