Olympia Rotarian Cathy Carlson dies in skiing accident

Cathy L. Carlson of Olympia, a local business executive and active member of the South Puget Sound Rotary Club, died in a skiing accident at White Pass on Saturday. She was 59, her husband of nearly 40 years, Tris Carlson, said Monday.

Carlson died just before noon Saturday after she crashed into a tree, her husband said. Carlson was not with his wife on Saturday, he said.

An off-duty ski patrol member witnessed the accident and told deputies the woman went over a bump on the Cool Air run in a new expansion area and started falling backward, The Chronicle newspaper of Centralia reported. She tried to right herself, then crashed into a tree, hitting her chest and upper body, the paper reported.

A date for a funeral hasn’t been set yet, partly because Tris Carlson was awaiting the results of a Lewis County coroner autopsy. His daughter and sister were working on funeral arrangements, he said.

Carlson was remembered Monday as a longtime and active Rotarian, as well as a longtime and avid skier. She also had been the chief financial officer at Seattle Shellfish, an Olympia-based company, since the late 1990s, her husband said.

Carlson said the two of them had recently returned from a three-week skiing trip in Switzerland.

“She loved life and lived for skiing,” said Leslie Demich, a fellow Rotarian who knew Cathy Carlson for about 12 years.

Demich and South Puget Sound Rotary President Paul Randall said members of the service club plan to gather Friday, a day before its annual auction, to grieve.

Randall said Carlson had served on every committee and was a past president. “I don’t want to say she was the glue that held the club together, but she was darn close,” he said.

She loved to have fun, and she absolutely loved to ski, Randall said.

“It’s a real blow,” he said. “She is going to be really, really missed.

“She was a strong and vibrant part of our club,” he said.

Carlson is survived by her husband, a son, a daughter and two grandchildren.