A Minneapolis Christian school community is mourning the death of a beloved 81-year-old custodian who was found in the rubble following an explosion at the private school.
John Carlson was initially unaccounted for after the explosion on Wednesday, but school officials later announced that the man had been found dead in the wake of the blast.
“John Carlson was Minnehaha’s biggest cheerleader and a long-time presence in the school,” officials said in the statement. “John will be deeply missed.”
School officials announced the explosion Wednesday morning in a Facebook post, noting that emergency responders were on the scene. They later confirmed the death of 47-year-old receptionist Ruth Berg. Nine others were injured and taken to Hinnepin County Medical Center, CBS Minneapolis reports.
Carlson had long been a part of the Academy, graduating in 1953 and sending his children to the school before going back himself to work as a custodian, he told the school’s media website, Redhawks Online last year.
“I’ve spent half my life there I might as well work there too. I’ve enjoyed it,” Carlson told the publication of his decision to take the job. “It’s a wonderful job for me because I still have a lot of energy.”
He was known as a “friendly” man who handed out candy to students.
“He’d always talk to you in between classes and he would always offer you Dilly bars,” student Roddy Macdonald said, according to Fox 9. “He was super sweet and super friendly to everyone. He loved being here.”