Wilma M. Johnson, 97, of Anacortes passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 4, 2012, at Fidalgo Care Center in Anacortes.
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She was born on December 20, 1914, in Tempe, Arizona to Elmer and Anna (Grasser) Morris of San de Fuca, Washington, where she grew up. She was the oldest of four siblings, Dorothy, Frances and George. Wilma graduated from high school in Coupeville in 1932 as the Salutorian of her class.
On December 12, 1936, she married Andre Arneson. In 1940, they moved to Anacortes and in 1942 they took over Andre's mother's (Jorgensen) family store Lake Erie Grocery. While Andre fished in Alaska, Wilma ran Lake Erie Grocery, the cabins and the lakeside docks/ fishing until 1965 when she sold the store to another Jorgensen family member.
Wilma and Andre had three daughters, Evelyn, Joanne and Phyllis. Andre passed away in 1962.
In 1966, Wilma married Maurice L. Johnson of Pleasant Ridge. They resided in Anacortes. Maurice died in 1982.
Wilma started work at age 15 as a telephone operator. She was a successful business woman, landlord, and accomplished seamstress and knitter.
After her retirement, she travelled the world, but always came home to Anacortes. Thirty five years after she sold Lake Erie Grocery, people still approached her with memories of her running the store and even folks (including military) who rented the cabins kept in touch with her.
Wilma was preceded in death by her three siblings, Dorothy Ennen, Frances Kreig and George Morris, husbands Andre and Maurice, and daughter Evelyn Guthrie.
She is survived by her two daughters Joanne (Douglas) Peterson of Mukilteo, Phyllis Bell of Wichita, Kansas, son-in-law Gerald Guthrie of Anacortes, step-daughter Charlotte Grin of Clear Lake, sister-in-law Marian Morris of Oak Harbor, and grandchildren, Cathy Guthrie, Mark Guthrie, Kristie Peterson Post, Molly (Dave) Wills, Christine Bell, Caylin (David) Thompson, Cara Buchanan, Louise McKnight and Jeffrey Grin, as well as numerous nieces and nephews, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.
Wilma was privately interred on Saturday, October 13, 2012 at Fernhill Cemetery in Anacortes. A memorial service will be held on at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, October 20, 2012, at the Anacortes Lutheran Church, 1300 O Avenue. Donations in her name may be made to the Anacortes Lutheran Church, where Wilma was a member of over 50 years.
Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Inc., Anacortes, WA and the San Juan Islands.
To share memories of Wilma, please sign the online guest register at www.evanschapel.com.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on Oct. 11, 2012