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David Bret Carlson, 94, Longtime New Canaan Resident, Lawyer And WWII Vet

FALMOUTH, Mass. - David Bret Carlson of Falmouth, and formerly of New Canaan, died Saturday, March 2. He was 94.

Carlson was born in Jamestown, N.Y., on Aug. 16, 1918. He was a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School. His legal studies were interrupted by World War II, when he enrolled in the Officer’s Training program in the U.S. Navy immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He eventually assumed command of a sub chaser, the SC1054, in the Pacific theater.

After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he completed his studies at Harvard Law School and joined the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City, where he practiced first as an associate and then as a partner for many years.

Carlson was active in many New York Bar Association activities and an expert in corporate and pension tax law matters. He lived in New Canaan from 1951 to 1974. He was active in town and church affairs, serving as a trustee of the New Canaan Library, and as trustee and deacon of the Congregational Church.

Carlson is survived by his sons, Christopher T. Carlson (Jane Fisher) of Weston, Mass., David Kurt Carlson (Elizabeth) of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.; a daughter, Nancy Carlson Berners-Lee of Lexington, Mass.; five grandchildren; a sister, Janis Ruslink of Jamestown, N.Y.; and his friend, Anne Sawyer of Woods Hole, Mass. He was predeceased by his wife, Jane.

A memorial service in celebration of Carlson’s life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at the First Congregational Church on the Village Green in Falmouth, Mass.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the D. Bret Carlson Memorial Fund at Brown University and sent to Gift Accounting, P.O. Box 1877, Brown University, Providence RI 02912, or online at

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