David Bret Carlson

David Bret Carlson of Falmouth, Mass., who grew up in Jamestown, and still has family here, passed away in Falmouth, on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at the age of 94.

Bret was born in Jamestown on Aug. 16, 1918, the son of David Albert Carlson and Gerda Johnson Carlson.

He attended Jamestown public schools, graduating with high honors from Jamestown High School in 1936. Bret was a graduate of Brown University, summa cum laude, class of 1940, and Harvard Law School, cum laude, class of 1943 (47), where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. His legal studies were interrupted by World War II, as he enrolled in the officer’s training program in the U.S. Navy immediately after Pearl Harbor, becoming a “90-day wonder” and assuming command of a sub chaser, SC1054, in the Pacific theater.

After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he completed his studies at Harvard Law School and in 1947 joined the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City, where he practiced, first as an associate and then as a partner, for the next 50 years. At Debevoise, he served a wide range of corporate and individual clients, and in a number of capacities in the management of the firm. He was also active in many New York Bar Association activities and was a well-known and highly respected expert in corporate and pension tax law matters. While practicing law in New York City, Bret lived in New Canaan and Fairfield, Conn., and upon his retirement in 1997 moved to Falmouth.

Bret was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Jane Tapley Carlson, who died in 2003.

He is survived by his son, Christopher T. Carlson and his wife, Jane Fisher Carlson of Weston, Mass., and their children: Caroline T. Carlson and Jonathan F. Carlson; his son, David Kurt Carlson and his wife, Elizabeth Carlson of Croton on-Hudson, N.Y., and their daughter, Louisa Carlson; his daughter, Nancy Carlson Berners-Lee of Lexington, Mass., and her children, Alice Olivia Berners-Lee and David Benjamin Berners-Lee; his sister, Janis Ruslink and her husband, Philip E. Ruslink of Jamestown, and their children: Paula Bidwell of Buffalo, Judith Bentley of Jamestown, and Susan Kellogg of Lakewood; and by his dear friend, Anne Sawyer of Woods Hole, Mass.

A memorial service in celebration of Bret’s life will be held at 11 a.m., on Saturday, April 6, 2013, 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 www.gifts.brown.edu.