Who We Are
Our professional staff has years of experience caring for families from all walks of life. We are leaders in our profession, with dedication to service and professional integrity.
When we sit down with a family, our shared goal is to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. We offer them a wide variety of services and products, as well as a wealth of creative ideas and suggestions. Together, we'll design a memorial or funeral service that suits their needs now, and in the future. Families who come to us know that years from now, they will have deep peace-of-mind because in coming to us, they've done their best to honor their loved one.
J.T. Oldham came to El Dorado from Iowa in 1879 to establish a furniture factory and be a dealer in furniture and carpet, and as was the case most of the time during this era, to establish an “undertaking parlor.” In all likelihood, Oldham manufactured the caskets or “coffins” in the same area he made furniture. In 1893, Oldham sold half his furniture business to J.R. Putnam, and in 1900, Putnam purchased the remaining half of the furniture business. Oldhamcontinued the undertaking business and in 1904 took in an associated by the name of Harry Washington. The 1902 El Dorado Business Journal also lists under “Undertakers,” A.R. Castle, who practiced in the “undertaking rooms” at the J.T. Oldham building. In 1916, F.M. Byrd of Parnell, Missouri, a graduate and practicing veterinarian, came to El Dorado and purchased the undertaking business from Oldham. While practicing Veterinary Medicine, Byrd was also preparing himself for the funeral profession, and was issued a diploma and license by the State of Kansas. He was accompanied by his brother, C.F. Byrd, as a partner in the business until 1929 when C.F. Byrd moved to Wichita to open a funeral home in that city. The Byrd Brothers Undertaking Company operated in the Oldham building at 203 S. Main St. for four years or until 1920 when they purchased the Dr. Fullinwider home at 200 S. Star. They converted the Fullinwider residence into a Funeral Home where the business has been located for over 80 years. In 1928, Clarence Wilke and Harry M. Harris joined the firm. These men were sons-in-laws of F.M. Byrd. The name was now changed to Byrd Funeral Home. In March of 1931, a completely new addition and remodeled building was dedicated and billed as on of the “most modern funeral home in Kansas.” In 1936, Glen Dietz came to the funeral home as an apprentice under Clarence Wilke. He worked until he was called into the Navy during W.W. II. Upon his release from duty in 1945, he returned to his position with the funeral home. In 1952, the funeral home was sold to Gerald and Carrol Byrd of Wichita, the sons of Claude F. Byrd. At this time Glen and his wife Loretta purchased a funeral home in Erie, Kansas where they remained until 1956 when they returned to El Dorado and purchased the funeral home. They along with Jack Pittman, the manager of Byrd-Snodgrass, operated the funeral home until 1960 when the Dietz’s became full owners. A new chapel was added to the home in 1968, and the firm was re-named Dietz Colonial Chapel. In 1974, Eugene and Betty Carlson moved to El Dorado from Solomon, Kansas, and purchased the funeral home and operated it until the death of Eugene in January 1993. Betty continues in the operation of the funeral home to the present time. Over the years many changes have taken place both inside and outside the building. Most notable were the erection of the four large pillars and porches on the front of the building in 1931 and the chapel in 1956. Many changes have occurred in the funeral service since the organization of this funeral home. In an issue of the El Dorado City Directory, during the 1880’s the funeral home advertised that they “used lowering devices”. These replaced lowering the casket into the grave by the use of ropes. Also, motorized equipment replaced the horse drawn hearse. Later changes which have affected the funeral business are the government agencies which are becoming more and more involved, the F.T.C, O.S.H.A. and the Environmental Protection Agency. The staff of Carlson’s who are serving the El Dorado and Butler County area are: Betty Carlson, who is still strongly active in the funeral home and other various organizations; Lionell Butts, a lifetime resident of Leon and El Dorado; and Darla Deaton, a lifetime resident of El Dorado. We here at Carlson’s strive to provide a professional service to families that will make a lasting impression of care and comfort.
Our Valued Staff
Betty Carlson, Licensed Funeral Director
Betty Carlson has been involved in the funeral business since 1960 starting in Solomon, Kansas and then in 1974 when she and her husband, Gene Carlson purchased the funeral home in El Dorado from Glen and Lorreta Dietz. The funeral home then became Dietz-Carlson and then Carlson Colonial Funeral Home. Even with the passing of her husband, Gene in January of 1993, Betty is still very active in the funeral home. Thru the years, Betty has been actively involved in many organizations in the El Dorado Community. She is a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, and the Kansas Funeral Directors Association, where she has served for many years on the scholarship committee. Betty is a member of the First Presbyterian Church where she has served as a ruling Elder, a trustee and a deacon. She is a member of Soroptomist International, serving as president for three years; a board member of the Salvation Army; El Dorado Chamber of Commerce, receiving the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce Good Neighbor Award in 1993 and the El Dorado Chamber Erman B. White Distinguished Service Award in 1997. She also served as a board member with the Chamber of Commerce; Meals-on-Wheels since 1975; Coutts Museum of Art; and the Sawyer Homes. Betty also has been involved with many various activities at Butler Community College, you may even see her at one of their basketball games.
Betty is the widow of Gene Carlson, and has four children Richard (Esther) Carlson; Randy (Rose) Carlson, Mike (Helen) Carlson and Linda Sue (Alan) Peterson, thirteen grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.
You can contact Betty at email@example.com
Darla Deaton, Administrative Assistant
Darla started with Carlson Colonial Funeral Home on October 24, 1988 as the secretary changing to Administrative Assistant. She was born in Sacramento, California, while her father served in the United States Air Force, but has spent most of her lifetime in the El Dorado Community. Darla is a member of Temple Baptist Church in El Dorado. Darla enjoys spending time with her family, reading and scrapbooking.
Darla is married to Steve, and has two children. Son, Derek who has a son, Adrik and Daughter, Mallory (Tyler) Goodrich, who has two sons, Owen and Brett and a daughter, Kaidence, all of El Dorado. Darla loves to spoil the grandchildren.
You can contact Darla at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Beattie, Funeral Assistant / Evening Visitation
Brian has been graciously helping Carlson Colonial Funeral Home since December 2003. You will see Brian caring for families and their friends during the evening visitations, as well as some funeral services. Brian is always willing to help whenever Carlson’s needs his assistance, even after his recent heart surgery. Brian is a life long Kansas Resident and a resident of El Dorado since 1974. He graduated from Washburn University in Topeka with a degree in business as well as Emporia State University with a degree in English Literature and Library Science. He served in the United States Marine Corp. Brian was a professional Librarian for 31 years. He retired from Butler Community College, serving as Director of Library Services for the College. Brian also was an adjunct faculty member teaching college literature courses including Children’s Literature, American Literature and English Literature. Brian is a member of Park Avenue Baptist Church, where is presently serving as chairman of the board of deacon’s; Rotary Club of El Dorado, where he served as a past president; and a life member of Delta Sigma Pi National business Fraternity. His past memberships include Kansas Library Association, where he was a past president; Mountain Plains Library Association and the American Library Association.
Brian is married to Sue, a retired faculty member of Butler Community College. They have one daughter, and three grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Larry & Lorriane Maus, Funeral Assistant / Evening Visitation
Larry has been caring for families and helping Carlson Colonial Funeral Home during visitation hours when he is needed, as well as services since early 2000. Larry is always willing to help whenever Carlson’s needs his assistance, even if it’s making long drives to another state, on short notice. Larry was the President of the nighttime Kiwanis Club in El Dorado and enjoys singing and leading the congregation in song weekly at the Park Avenue Baptist Church, where he has been a member for many years and a deacon. He also participates in Butler 2000, the Water Festival at BCC, and BCC Life Enrichment. His avid hobbies include working with wood, repairing electronics, and teaching a Sunday School class for young people in his church.
Larry is married to Lorraine, who is a retired school teacher. Lorraine is also active in the church working as a team with Larry. She also enjoys crafts and reading. You will always find her by Larry’s side at the funeral home helping or taking road trips. They have two grown children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Frank Kratzer, Funeral Assistant / Ambassador
Frank enjoys his position as an Ambassador for Carlson Colonial Funeral Home. Frank retired on October 31, 2010 as the Community Resource Officer for the El Dorado Police Department. Frank’s position at Carlson’s since his retirement has him assisting with funerals, making night calls, and working the day to day business as needed. Frank enjoys participating and assisting with community festivals and parades.
Frank is married to Kay and lives in the community of El Dorado with his dogs.
Dale Dawson, Licensed Funeral Director/Manager
Dale started working for Carlson Funeral Home in July of 2006. Dale has been a licensed funeral director since 2001. Before getting his funeral director license, Dale worked in several funeral homes in the Wichita area, he is a second generation funeral director. Dale retired from the U.S. Army Reserves after thirty-four years of active duty and Reservist, as a Sergeant Major in the 90th RSC of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Dale and his family have lived in El Dorado for several years now. Dale is an active member of the Fairview Baptist Church as an elder, in rural Towanda, and the Kansas Funeral Directors Association and National Funeral Directors Assoc. He is also a member of El Dorado Downtown Kiwanis currently serving as President , the VFW Post #1174 and the Captain Edgar Dale American Legion Post #81; as a board member for the El Dorado Community Concert and on the Event Committee for the ACS Relay For Life of El Dorado.
Dale is married to Debbie, and has two sons, Daniel and wife Amanda and Chris. Dale is excited about being Manager at Carlson's and would like to meet and assist the community in any way possible.
You can contact Dale at email@example.com.