Sylvester T. Carolan

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 2:44 pm

Sylvester T. Carolan, 107, of Decorah, died Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, at Barthell O.E.S. Home in Decorah. Mass of Christian Burial was at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 26, at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Decorah, with Rev. Phil Gibbs officiating. Readers were Megan Weinhold and Rylee Truckenmiller. Intercessions were by Al Weis. Gift bearers were granddaughters Amy Walch, Jodi Valentine, Sue Mone, Jill Erickson, Laura Ollendick and Laura McGee. Honorary bearers were all the other grandchildren. Casket bearers were grandsons Michael Weis, Matt Carolan, John Carolan, Tom Erickson, Joe Chesmore, Jeff Carolan, Jeremy Carolan and Gunnar Rollins. Organist was Mary Beth Bouska. Cantor was Cindy Schissel. Hymns were “Our Father,” “Ave Maria,” “Here I Am Lord,” “Prayer of St. Francis,” “Taste and See,” “Faith of Our Fathers,” “Lord of the Dance.” Special music included guitar music by Richard Weis. Inurnment is in St. Agnes Catholic Cemetery at a later date. In accordance with his wishes, after the service, his body will be donated to science, to Mayo Foundation, Department of Anatomy in Rochester, Minn. Visitation was from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah, with a rosary recited at 4 p.m. and a vigil service at 7 p.m. Thursday, and Friday, beginning at 9:30 a.m., one hour before the service, at the church. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah served the family. Online condolences may be made at

Sylvester Terrance Carolan was born June 20, 1909, at home on the family farm in Canoe Township, rural Decorah, the son of Philip H. and Ella F. (Donlan) Carolan. He attended Canoe Township School No. 3 and then Decorah High School. Sylvester began a career in farming early in life.
Sylvester was united in marriage with Vivian Anita Gossman July 12, 1938, at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Decorah. This union was blessed with six children: Vernelle, Patrick, Kathleen, Gretchen, Dean and Joan. Vivian and Sylvester farmed their whole married life, first in Madison Township and then, for many years, in Burr Oak Township. They retired and moved into Decorah in January of 1977. Sylvester was an active member and Trustee of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Plymouth Rock for many years.

After moving to Decorah, Vivian and Sylvester became members of St. Benedict Catholic Church. He loved to play cards, enjoyed the farm harvest time, gardening and dancing or listening to polka music. He seemed to be the happiest when he was rocking in his chair, singing to a baby on his lap. And as with all good Irishmen, Sylvester loved potatoes. He planted them on as many Good Fridays as weather would allow, dug them from his gardens, peeled multitudes of them for himself, his family and even the nursing home just last week. Sneaking a raw one to eat and share while peeling was a treat. He was also the potato masher for special meals or Sunday dinner for Vivian, while she finished all the trimmings. Sylvester became a resident of Barthell O.E.S. Home in Decorah Sept. 14, 2007.

Sylvester is survived by five children: Vernelle Weis of Decorah, Pat (Pam) Carolan of Stewartville, Minn., Gretchen Carolan of Decorah, Dean (Sherry) Carolan of Decorah, and Joan (Terry) Rollins of Decorah; 27 grandchildren; 48 great-grandchildren; one great-great grandson (with another scheduled for birth Aug. 29); and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Vivian, Oct. 19, 2007; one daughter, Kathleen Jane Erickson, Sept. 1, 1995; one grandson, Robert Richard Weis, Aug. 12, 2014; one great-grandson, Aidan Sean Valentine, Dec. 27, 1995; two sons-in-law, Loel Erickson March 24, 2011 and Richard “Tip” Weis Aug. 25, 2015; four sisters: Mae Cronin, Bessie O’Brien, Tret Drew and Ellen Sutton – Van Steenhuyse; and by six brothers, Richard, Pete, Jim, Robert, Bill and Melvin.

Submit A Comment

Fill out the form to submit a comment. All comments require approval by our staff before it is displayed on the website.

Notify of
0 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments