With the passing of Dr. Lawrence Carlton, the town of Canton lost a retired physician, noted historian, longtime toymaker, lecturer, church member and more.
“He was a real Renaissance man,” said Canton resident Jim Keane.
Carlton died at McLean in Simsbury on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, according to his obituary. He was 88.
A native of Windsor, World War II veteran and a Harvard graduate, he and wife Peg moved to town in 1954.
Although a long-time physician, in recent years Carlton was perhaps best known for his historical knowledge.
“His absence leaves a vacuum no one can fill,” said Canton Historical Museum curator Kathleen R. Woolam. “He always had the answer.”
Carlton was a founding member of the Canton Historical Society in 1966, the group that got the Canton Historical Museum off the ground a few years later, Woolam said.
Carlton was a fixture at the museum and trained docents and other volunteers. He was also a prolific author and researcher.
“He was just hungry for information,” Woolam said “He did a tremendous amount of research. That was his passion.”
Carlton was also a popular lecturer at the museum, local schools and throughout the state.
“He just loved talking about history,” said Canton Historical Society President Donald Scott. “He could tell history like he was telling a story.”
Scott also feels Carlton loved being around the museum, which includes artifacts similar to the ones Carlton used growing up on a farm in Windsor.
“Being here for him was kind of like going back to his roots,” he said.
Carlton also contributed a great deal of knowledge about the history of the First Congregational Church of Canton Center, where he attended, said Dr. Evans Sealand Jr., who led the church from 1959 to 1994 and is now pastor emeritus.
“He’s contributed a great deal to our understanding of the history of the church,” Sealand said.
Carlton also loved to travel and was just an all around great guy and faithful member of the church. He took on many roles there, Sealand said.
“He was a very important person in my life,” Sealand said. “I have a great deal of respect for him.”
In addition to history, Carlton’s hobbies included woodworking and photography.
Professionally, Carlton was a physician who spent numerous years practicing in Canton and teaching at Hartford Hospital.
In town he held a private medical practice from his home on Dyer Avenue and later on Maple Avenue, said Scott, who remembers how the living room turned waiting area and a back bedroom turned medical office at the Dyer Avenue home.
Carlton later worked for Hartford Hospital for several years, holding the titles of Director of the Student Health Center, Physician-Coordinator of the Nurse Practitioner Program, Coordinator of Education in Ambulatory Medicine in the Department of Medicine and Medical Director of Quality Assurance, according to his obituary.
Calling hours will be at the Vincent Funeral Home, 120 Albany Turnpike, from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19. A memorial service will be held at the church, 184 Cherry Brook Road, Canton Center at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20.