FLY CREEK – Brian Francis Carso, Sr., a long-time and well-respected licensed land surveyor, passed away Tuesday morning, March 2, 2021, at his home on Goose Street in Fly Creek. He was 90.
Brian was born on May 10, 1930, in Queens, one of six children of A. Francis and Elizabeth (Megnin) Carso. His father was a civil engineer, and his mother had served as a Marine Corps battlefield nurse in World War I. Brian was born 2 months prematurely; doctors cautioned his parents to wait before naming him, because “they didn’t think I would make it.” “Well,” he said on his 90th birthday, “I made it…and then some.”
He graduated from Bayside High School and attended SUNY Farmingdale before military service in the Air Force Reserve as a radio operator. He began his surveying career as a founding member of Pape, Carso & Pape, Inc., in Pennsylvania, subsequently joining two notable engineering firms in New York City. In 1970 he went to work for Con Edison and was promoted to chief surveyor of The Bronx. In 1977 he completed a bachelor of science degree at The College of Staten Island, CUNY.
He married Betty Lou Walker on May 19, 1962, at Bayside Methodist Church. Every Friday for the next 41 years, until her death in 2003, he would bring her a single red rose. They raised three sons together, and Brian took his turn in all the familiar roles, from Little League coach to Scout Leader to steadfast algebra and trigonometry tutor.
There is an old photograph of Brian when he was two years old, feeding chickens in a small coop in Bayside. This experience made an impression on him: In 1978, he moved the family to a three-acre parcel far up Fly Creek Valley, in Richfield Springs, where he raised chickens, Cornish game hens, turkeys, ducks, and sheep. After working with surveying and engineering firms in Ilion and Oneonta, he established his own surveying practice, often accompanied in the field by his youngest son, Barrett.
Brian continued to work well into his 80s. During the last few years, when he was convinced to slow down, he took great pleasure visiting his grandsons, and was a regular presence at his son Brad’s farm in Fly Creek, where he looked after the grape vines and took care of the ducks.
A 61-year member of the Masonic Fraternity, Brian was Raised Nov. 22, 1960, in Francis Lewis Lodge No, 273, Free & Accepted Masons in Whitestone, Queens. He later joined Alcyone Lodge No. 695, F. & A.M. in Northport. Upon moving to Upstate New York, he affiliated with Richfield Springs Lodge No. 482, F. & A.M. and then with Otsego Lodge No. 138, F. & A.M. in Cooperstown and served that Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1993.
Active in York Rite Masonry, he began his journey by being Exalted in Orient Chapter No. 138, Royal Arch Masons in Brooklyn and was a member of Unity Chapter No. 328 in Bayside, Queens. In 1982 he affiliated with Otsego Chapter No. 26, R.A.M., and served as Excellent High Priest in 1991. He was also a member of Oneonta Council No. 87, Cryptic Masons, and Otsego Commandery No. 76, Knights Templar, serving as Eminent Commander in 1984.
Brian was a long time member of Hugick Purcell American Legion Post No. 616 in Richfield Springs, Fly Creek Grange No. 844 and Pierstown Grange No. 793, and served on the Otsego County Planning Board during the 1980s.
Brian is survived by three sons, Brian F. Carso, Jr., and wife, Kerry Dean Carso, of Matamoras, Pa., Brad C. Carso, and wife, Lynn Johnson of Fly Creek, and Barrett S. Carso of Cooperstown; two grandsons, Owen Dean Carso and Nathaniel Dean Carso of Matamoras, Pa.; and two sisters, Connie Olds of Binghamton and Jacqueline Strickland of Virginia and their families.
He was predeceased by his parents; his wife of 41 years, Betty Lou Carso, who died Nov. 7, 2003; a grandson, Teddy Dean Carso who died Nov. 25, 2006; his brother, Boniface E. “Barney” Carso who died Dec. 5, 2003; and sisters Faith Carso who died June 8, 2018, and Elizabeth “Betty” Reiner, who died Nov. 5, 2016.
A funeral service and a Masonic service will be offered later this spring at the Fly Creek United Methodist Church. Interment with Military Honors will follow in the Fly Creek Valley Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be directed to Fly Creek United Methodist Church, PO Box 128, Fly Creek, NY 13337.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.