Margaret Elaine (Peg) Johnson, aged 97, was born July 30, 1923 in Minneapolis, Minn., and passed away peacefully in her home in Oak Harbor, Wash. on Sept. 3, 2020.
Her parents were Iva Weston Long and Frank A. Long. She grew up in Beaulieu, Minn., where her grandfather was the first non-Native American trader on the White Earth Indian Reservation. She attended school in Mahnomen, Minn., graduating from Mahnomen High in 1941. She then attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. and French’s Business College in Bemidji, Minn. Upon graduation from business college, she received an appointment to the Navy Department in Washington, D.C.
Her father was hired to work in the supply department of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, which was under construction in Oak Harbor, so her family moved to Oak Harbor and Peg transferred her appointment to the new naval air station.
While secretary to the Public Works Officer, she met a young sailor from Texas, Dale Johnson. They were both active in the newly formed USO. Although there was a rule against sailors and hostesses leaving together, Dale convinced the acting director, Betty Golly, that it wasn’t safe for Peg to walk home alone. Due to his winning smile and outgoing personality, he was allowed to escort her home. That was the beginning of a long friendship and a 60-year marriage.
Peg’s family was the most important thing in her life and she became a full-time mother and housewife. When her son, Skip, was only months old, she became a Girl Scout leader in the very early days of scouting in Oak Harbor. The Girl Scout troops met in a converted chicken coop on her parents’ property. She was a room mother, band booster and field trip chaperone. There was one PTA for all Oak Harbor schools, and she served as PTA secretary, publishing the first monthly PTA newsletter. She was also active with Camp Fire Girls for many years as a leader, a district training officer and music director for the annual Camp Fire day camp.
When her husband became a representative for Metropolitan Life she became a volunteer office assistant for his business as well.
The Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church has been an important part of Peg’s life. She sang in the church choir for more than 60 years, beginning in 1948. She served in several offices in the United Methodist Women’s organization and was an initial member of the Evening Circle. She also served as membership secretary for the church for many years, and later memorials chairwoman, a role in which she served for the past several years.
Peg and Dale Johnson spent many happy years in retirement traveling around the country in their RV, often teaching line dancing classes along the way.
Peg is survived by her children, Skip and Kim Johnson, Julie and Jim Palmer and Tracy and Craig LeRoy. She was blessed with four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Dale.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, or to your favorite charity. There will be a family graveside service at a later time.