Johnnie Lemar Garner, Jr., 90, of Marysville and Bellevue, WA, peacefully passed away February 21, 2021, surrounded by loved ones, after a battle with prostate cancer and Alzheimer's.
John was born on January 1, 1931, to John and Mary Garner in San Diego, CA. Being a Navy brat, he moved between Hawaii, San Diego, his grandparents' home in Black Diamond, and then Seattle and Edmonds. An exceptional athlete and student body leader, he graduated from Edmonds High School in 1949. He went on to Everett Junior College for two years and then completed his Naval Officer's Training program. He returned to Seattle to finish his education at the University of Washington. John played football and baseball at Everett JC and played baseball at UW. As first baseman, John was elected team captain his sophomore year at EJC, winning the state championship, and again in his junior year at UW. He went on to coach the Huskies freshman team as they aimed to take the NCAA title. It is rumored that the Chicago White Sox were giving John a good look, but he had already committed to the Navy. John was inducted to the Everett CC Hall of Fame in 2016 for both baseball and football, and to this day holds the school record for returning the longest interception pass for a touchdown (99 yards).
In 1950, he met Noreen Hoerath, of Snohomish. They were introduced by Bernie Averill, the son of Earl Averill, the legendary MLB player from Snohomish. Averill was coaching the American Legion team John was playing on that year with Bernie managing the team. John and Noreen married June 27, 1952. Noreen graduated nursing school in 1952 and they began to build their life while John finished his studies at UW with a master's in education.
After graduation, John served two years active duty in the Navy. After stints at bases in SC and LA, John and Noreen were stationed in Long Beach, CA, where they started their family. John continued to serve in the Naval Reserves, winning awards for his leadership, retiring in 1973 with the rank of Commander.
Post-Navy, John taught history and PE and coached football, basketball and baseball at Edmonds, Mt. Lake Terrace and Ferndale. He served as assistant principal in Edmonds, Mt. Lake Terrace and at Meadowdale. In 1973, the family moved to Marysville where John had become the principal of Marysville High School in 1970, which then merged with Pilchuck High School. He remained the principal of MPHS until 1982 when he retired serving the school district for over 20 years.
Not one to sit back, John tried his hand at selling cars and quickly became the sales manager. His gift of listening served him well and he loved the change of pace. John was then asked to become the City Administrator in Marysville, a post he held for six years. In 1993, he was elected to the Snohomish County Council and served four years. John remained a leader in the community and proudly served as a charter member of the Marysville branch of Rotary International in 1985, winning numerous awards for his service over 27 years. John also served on the board of the Marysville/North Snohomish County YMCA and the Evergreen Council of Boy Scouts.
Once retired, John had time to fully pursue his love of golf, which he would play as often as possible, reading war history books, traveling, and spending time with his kids and grandkids. His beloved wife, Noreen, passed away after a battle with ovarian cancer in 2002, just days shy of their 50th wedding anniversary.
As fate would have it, Bernie Averill again set John up with the woman who would become his second wife, Maxine Paige. With a mutual love of golf and much in common, the two married July 24, 2004. Maxine and John were lucky to find love and companionship a second time around. John would tell people that "without baseball, I wouldn't have met my two wives."
Until the end, John continued his passion of golf, the Mariners, everything UW (go Dawgs!) and high school sports. We will always remember him singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the 7th inning stretch, followed by a hot dog.
We will cherish the memories of our dad and papa who taught us the meaning of respect, integrity, hard work, and love.
Along with Noreen, John was predeceased by their son, Gregory, who died as an infant. John is survived by his wife, Maxine Paige, sister, Mary Olson, Edmonds, and children, Jeff Garner (Mary), Everett, Kyle Garner, Kirkland, Jane Garner Roe (Robert), Florence, MT, and Jana Garner Koeberle, Kirkland. John is also survived by seven grandchildren, Jayson and Landon Garner, Andrea, Chelsey and Matt Roe, Olivia and Colin Koeberle and six great-grandchildren.
Donations in John's memory may be sent to the Noreen H. Garner Nursing Scholarship Fund at Everett Community College Foundation, 2000 Tower Street, Everett, WA 98201 or made online at everettcc.edu/foundation or to the Cure Alzheimer's Fund at 34 Washington Street, Suite 310, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481 or made online at curealz.org/giving/donate/.January 1, 1931 - February 21, 2021