Marlys Jean Johnson
June 16, 2022
Marlys Jean Johnson was born April 12, 1940, in Jersey City, New Jersey. She graduated from public high school and moved on to Farleigh Dickinson College in Teaneck, New Jersey. She graduated with a teaching degree and taught middle school. Meanwhile she had become a Methodist Youth Fellowship counselor in Rutherford, NJ, eventually pursuing a masters degree in Religious Education at Union Theological Seminary.
After graduating she became a Church Mentor with churches and youth leaders, speaking at seminars and weekend events throughout northeast New Jersey. During this time, she met Milton and Bonnie Vereide who were part of John Knox Presbyterian Church in North Canton, Ohio. Milton's father Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian-born American Methodist minister, was instrumental in founding the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC in 1953. Marlys applied for a job as a youth director in Milton's Canton church where she became involved in an active prayer group which eventually developed into Christian Ministries Church in North Canton. Marlys became an elder in the church and taught in Christian Ministries Day School as a Bible and high school teacher. Decades later Milton and Bonnie's son Nathan Vereide and wife Cindy, located in Sequim, WA, took Marlys in for several months when she was in Seattle for gallbladder and wrist surgery in 2021.
In 1976 she moved to Palmer, Alaska, to join a Christian community there.Several years later, in 1983, she was recruited to teach and act as registrar for the newly established Covenant Life College at Haines. She taught education courses and Alaska Geology, and served as an elder in the Covenant Life Center church.
Marlys had a variety of interests, always keeping her camera ready to spontaneously catch the changing Alaskan scenery and its abundant wildlife. Her framing business "Halaskan Crafts" included the sale of photographs and postcards featuring her best shots. Marlys also worked with disabled clients at Reach Community Services in Haines. She was a regular swimmer and lifeguard at the Haines Borough Pool and enjoyed working in the Chilkat Valley Farms greenhouse.
Marlys formed many rich friendships with our townsfolk, and we will all miss her cheery smile and endless stories of teaching and travel escapades. After a long history of various health issues Marlys passed away peacefully May 27th, 2022, at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska.
Marlys is preceded in death by her parents, Lawrence and Helen Johnson. She is survived by her older brother Larry Johnson, her nieces Mary (husband Paul) Schmidt and Susan (husband Doug) Schlabach, and her nephews David Johnson and Eric (wife Rebekah) Johnson. She also has many grand nieces and nephews. It was Marlys's wish to have her ashes divided between CLC and the family plot in Sheffield, PA.
We want to extend a special thanks to Dr Adam McMahan and our expert SEARHC medical team that sustained Marlys through her difficult times and three medivacs to Anchorage. Thank you Carol Lawrence, for lovingly taking her into your home when she needed full-time assistance after her three months of rehab in Anchorage.
A memorial service will be held at the Assembly of God church on Saturday, July 2, at 2:00 pm. A finger food potluck will follow the service.
Obituary submitted by Betty Banaszak.