John “Keith” Carlton, who died Monday night after a brief illness, was a private person who asked only that people consider contributing to a scholarship fund in his name, according to an obituary printed in the Idaho Statesman Friday.
According to his obituary, Carlton had cancer but “insisted on completing the fall semester of classes rather than focus on treatment.”
Carlton, 67, was in his 40th year as golf coach and history and government teacher at Boise High School, and his death rocked his colleagues, students, alumni and their families. Admirers flooded social media with tributes, and Principal Robb Thompson called him “an icon at Boise High.”
“At Carlton’s request, no services will be held. He also requested that no flowers be sent,” the obituary states. “The family intends to hold its version of an Irish wake in the not-too-distant future and will provide a general notice for those interested in attending.”
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Anyone interested can contribute to the John Keith Carlton Scholarship Fund at the Boise Public Schools Education Foundation, 8169 West Victory Road, Boise 83709.
Carlton was born in Los Angeles, went to Boise Junior College on a track scholarship and then earned a bachelor’s degree from Boise State College and a master’s from the College of Idaho. “He worked as a trainer and coach in a variety of sports — including as an assistant trainer for the Los Angeles Rams NFL team for a brief time in the 1970’s — but ironically he found his passion in coaching golf, a game he didn’t play well,” the obituary states.
He taught briefly in Nampa before joining Boise High in 1976 and was by all accounts deeply committed to the school. He is survived by three sisters, including Susan Sahlberg of Boise, and six nieces and nephews.