Martha Linnia Johnson, 97, a longtime resident of Mount Vernon passed away Sunday, December 15, 2013.
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She was born September 18, 1916 in Harper, Washington, the only child of Swedish immigrants, Carl and Tillie (Svensson) Berg. Martha was very proud of her full Swedish ancestry.
At an early age she moved with her family to Long Beach, Washington where they started a cranberry farm. Martha worked on the farm along side her parents, until she left home to obtain a higher education, after high school. Martha graduated from Ilwaco High School in 1935. She attended Wilson's Business College in Seattle and after graduating, returned to Ilwaco to become a longtime employee of West Coast Power and Light (later known as PUD #1).
Martha married Albert Johnson on January 8, 1940, and the couple moved to Mount Vernon in 1948, where Albert went to work as herdsman for the owner of Dynes Guernsey Farm on Hoag Road. The land on which this farm was located was later purchased by the Salem Lutheran Church of Mount Vernon. The new church now stands there.
Martha and Albert's family began to grow in 1948 when their first child, Allen Lee (their angel unaware) was born. In 1951, Albert and Martha stared their own farm and built a home on Britt Slough Road in Mount Vernon. Martha had fond memories of the bicycle rides she and Albert enjoyed on the Dike road near their farm. New joy came into Martha and Albert's life in 1953 when two little brothers, Dennis and Dale joined their family. Their arrival inspired the Johnson's to name their farm Denny-Dale Farm, which would become the legal name of their thriving enterprise. With her growing family, Martha was soon following a hectic schedule of activities for and with the boys who were members of 4H and Future Farmers of America, which meant running to meetings with them and annual participation in the Skagit County Fair and the State Fair in Puyallup, showing their animals. The boys enjoyed this immensely and were proud of the many ribbons they won. After having lovingly and successfully raising their sons, Albert and Martha reached out to others and with compassion and love took in foster children to care for and to introduce them to healthy farm living.
When children no longer needed her attention, Martha decided it was time to go back to work. She was employed by Troutman's Emporium and retired from there after twenty-five years, at the age of 81. She was happy showing and modeling in what she called her "Senior Show" for elderly customers. Martha, with here happy smile and sunny disposition, found time for serving others in many ways.
She was a member of and attended Salem Lutheran Church for more than fifty years, teaching Sunday school, serving on the Care Team, and volunteering in any way she could to serve her beloved church and its members. Martha's hobbies and interests were many. She was a member of the Washington State Grange, Vasa Lodge, Hospital Guild, a bridge club, Red Hat, and Salem Care Team. She volunteered at the Friendship House and the Skagit Valley Hospital. Her most avid interest was in people with special needs and the organizations that served them such as Special Olympics, Service Alternatives and Josephine Sunset Home.
After Albert's death in 1993, Martha stayed on in her home until 1999 when she moved to Heather Village in Mount Vernon. She enjoyed many years in her new home, making new acquaintances, visiting with old friends and keeping active in her church and in other interests. Allen, who happily moved into Life Care Center of Mount Vernon continued to be her top priority.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her beloved husband of 53 years, Albert; her daughter, Trudy Ann; sons, Dennis in January, 2007 and Allen in March, 2012.
She is survived by one son, Dale; grandchildren, Jeremy Johnson and Jana of Longview, Linnia and her husband, Scott Sayers of Bellingham, and Mark Johnson and Valerie of Mount Vernon. She is also survived by her 4 great-grandchildren (her greatest joys), Tate and Owen Sayers, Mia Marie Johnson, and Isabel Johnson; her great friend and the mother of Jeremy and Linnia, Rolleen Johnson; as well as well as a host of friends who will surely miss her, and her smile.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 11, 2013 at 1:30 pm at Salem Lutheran Church.
Memorials may be sent to the Friendship House, 922 South Third St, Mount Vernon, WA 98273 or to Salem Lutheran Church, 2529 N. LaVenture Rd, Mount Vernon, WA 98273.
You may share your memories of Martha and sign her online guest register at www.kernfuneralhome.com
Arrangements are under the care of Kern Funeral Home.
Kern Funeral Home
1122 South 3rd Street Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company from Dec. 20 to Dec. 23, 2013