Marjorie Ellen Johnson of Anderson Island, Washington, passed away in her home during the wee hours of September 5, 2017 at the age of 96. She was born in Upton, Wyoming on April 26, 1921, the first of three children born to Roy and Mamie Thompson.
After attending college, she rode a horse to her first job teaching grammar school in a one room Wyoming school house.
She then served over two years in the Army during World War II working as key punch operator helping to intercept enemy communications.
Following her military service, she married Christian Larsen and settled in New York State to raise their five children while also serving as president of the PTA.
After the passing of her husband, Chris, she drove her children across the country to relocate in Port Orchard, Washington where she worked for several years in the office of the Bangor Naval Ammunition Depot.
In 1966, she remarried to Lowell Johnson and in 1967 moved to Anderson Island where she worked for many years as a Pierce County Librarian and then as a realtor, which led to her becoming a real estate broker with an office next to the general store. As a realtor, she recognized the potential of property for sale on the Island and initiated its purchase and development into the Lowell Johnson Park, which was voted the most popular swimming hole in the state. Her volunteer work on the Island spanned over forty years including her work at the Island grade school library and as a teacher’s assistant. She organized and chaperoned teen dances and square dances at the Community Club and was a docent for the Historical Society. She also was instrumental in starting and helping to build the Island Lutheran Church and the Island Community Church. To recognize her many years of community service, she was honored as Anderson Island Woman of the Year.
Marjorie will be remembered for her unflagging positive spirit, kindness, and generosity that endeared her to everybody who had the pleasure of knowing her.
She was preceded in death by her second husband Lowell Johnson, her brothers Jack and Frank Thompson and her half-sister Betty Ann McNeff.
She is survived by her sons, David, John, Paul and Richard Larsen; her daughter, Karen Vickers; her four daughters-in-law; one son-in-law; twelve grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the Anderson Island Historical Society.
In keeping with the independence they learned from their mother, Marjorie’s family chose to honor her by handling most of the funeral proceedings themselves. Son, John, a cabinet maker, designed and built a handsome wood casket. Marjorie’s close friend, caretaker, and artist Jewell hand-painted a beautiful scene of sun, sky and flowers on the top of the casket that was also adorned by handwritten notes by family members. Daughter, Karen, led the preparation and blessing of the body for the casket. A rider-less horse accompanied the procession from Marjorie’s home to the Anderson Island cemetery. Long-time family friend and Pastor, Jim Saxman, presided over the ceremony that included a song written and performed by Marjorie’s son, Paul; a reading of the obituary written by son, David; and many testimonials by friends and family members that recalled the positive impact Marjorie had on their lives. Son, Richard, led interment by use of hand-held ropes into a grave dug by hand the previous day by Marjorie’s grandchildren. Son-in-law, Phil had unearthed a large granite rock from the Island that he will prepare and set as the headstone. Following the funeral; son, John and his wife, Dianne, hosted a dinner in their home to celebrate Marjorie’s life.