Mary Janice Johnson(1941 - 2013)

Mary Johnson peacefully passed away Feb. 10, 2013 at the home of her daughter surrounded by her loving family. Mary was born on June 28, 1941 in Wolf Point, Mont. to Clyde and Anna Nefzger. She attended Ronan High School, graduating with the class of 1959.

Mary lived a full and passionate life that allowed her to live in several areas in Montana and surrounding states settling in the Gallatin Valley in 1975 with her true love Jerry W. Johnson who she married in 1977. Mary attended Montana State University studying social work.

Mary was passionate about people and an active humanitarian. She was a fierce advocate for abused women and children and those living in poverty. She served on the Governor's Council on Poverty in the early 1980s. She volunteered her time and resources to advance the issues close to her heart and was never silent when witnessing bigotry or oppression.

What a gift to have Mary Johnson as a mom, grandma, or aunt, although we had to learn to share. All too often the neighborhood kids would come over and see if our mom could come out to play. There was always room at the dinner table for one more. She was more than an adult – she was our friend. It has been such a gift to watch her with her grandson, Ethan. Ethan held such a special place in her heart and brought her so much joy these last several years.

Those who were fortunate to share Mary's life and will miss her terribly include her six children: David West (Cheryl), Terri Auld, Patti West, Jim Walker (Paula), Les Gunderson (Lisa), and Mark Johnson; and her 12 grandchildren; her brothers, Jim (Sue) Treichelt and Elmer Keith Treichelt (Nanci); her sister, Barbara Beckley; lifelong friends and their extended families.

While the loss of our mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend leaves a huge hole in our hearts there is comfort in knowing that she is reunited with her greatest love and our father, Jerry and his parents – they have needed that fourth hand in the great pinochle game in heaven. May we all strive to be the people Mary Johnson saw when she looked at us and play a positive role in the world as a tribute.

We will be having a ceremony celebrating Mary's life on her birthday this summer.

Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Feb. 17, 2013