Carlson receives CMF award

Special to the News-Argus

Friend of the Foundation award winner John Carlson (left) shares his award with Sandra Westhoff.

Photo courtesy of Central Montana Foundation

The Central Montana Foundation awarded Shirley Barrick and John Carlson Friend of the Foundation awards at its annual meeting on May 22. Both have been involved with CMF for several decades and were commended for their service and advocacy.


CMF First Vice President Sandra Westhoff presented John Carlson with his award. Carlson was honored for being a good friend to the Foundation over the past 31 years. Westhoff had a couple of words immediately come to mind when talking about Carlson: integrity and ethics, two things the man has prioritized in his personal and professional lives.

Carlson is originally from Minnesota. He married his wife Phyllis in 1966, and was called away to leave his college education and his family when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968. Carlson served in Vietnam for a year, and, upon his return, finished his military career at Fort Carlson in Colorado Springs. During that time, he took night classes from the University of Colorado while working to support his family. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1972.

The family moved to Lewistown in 1973, and Carlson began work as an investment advisor for First National Bank. Four years later, he took over the presidency at Mid-State Bank, now Bank of the Rockies, a position he held for about 10 years. He then opened a branch of Linsco Private Ledger, now LPL Financial, in 1994. He sold the business to Mike and Colten Mellows.

Carlson’s history with the Foundation goes back to 1986, when he became a director representing Mid-State Bank and served on the board until 1992. In 1995, the Foundation hired John’s firm, Linsco Private Ledger, as its investment advisor.

Carlson was ever conscious about the responsibilities of a rapidly growing portfolio. Carlson started Westhoff’s current career at Mid-State Bank when he hired her. Now, she is the manager of Bank of the Rockies. Westhoff praised Carlson for giving her a chance, and said he inspired her with his faith and integrity.


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