Johnson, Mary Lou 71 Feb. 19, 1945 Dec. 28, 2016 Mary Lou Johnson, 71, passed away Dec. 28, peacefully at home with daughters at her side, after holding the effects of cancer at bay for long enough. She was born Feb. 19, 1945 in Washington, D.C. to Ottis Peterson and Jean Rawlins Peterson. Raised in Arlington, Va., Mary Lou graduated from Sidwell Friends School and went west to attend Utah State University because it was so beautiful, she later told her daughter. There she met, fell in love with, and married Lee Fronk Johnson on Sept. 3, 1966. As they embarked on a life of much love and laughter, Mary Lou launched her career as an educator, dedicated to helping students with disabilities. She taught at Seattle Children's Home, Seattle Public Schools, Montgomery County (Md.) School District, and spent the last 20 years of her career in the Centennial School District. She earned a Master of Education from Portland State University and retired as the Centennial School District Director of Student Services. Wherever she went, Mary Lou committed herself to ensuring access to education for all students, regardless of their challenges. She collected many friends and fans along the way, making quick connections with anyone who appreciated her clear and genuine outlook. She could always throw a lovely party, large or small. She enjoyed her friends immensely, as well as a good, quiet, read. Winning a game of cards against her was a rare thing, but she always made losing fun. Her sustained laugh-until-you-cry episodes were remarkable to experience. She will be remembered as a listener, a counselor, and for an enduring will to do whatever it takes to make something happen for someone she loved, or to simply do the right thing. Or to just get a Diet Coke. She was preceded in death by her husband of 44 years, Lee Johnson, and they are surely dancing together again. She is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Pat and Richard Strazza of Ringoes, N.J.; sister and brother-in-law, Sue and Geoff Huguely of Chevy Chase, Md.; daughter and son-in-law, Heather and Clary Clish of Reading, Mass.; daughter and son-in-law, Alicia and Scott Salge of Oakland, Calif.; daughter and son-in-law, Sara and Rob Houston of Welches, Ore.; numerous nieces and nephews; and grandchildren, Jackson, Mason, Chella, and Bergen. Ever the entertainer and hostess, the only suitable way to honor Mary Lou is with a last party of sorts. A celebration of life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017 at the Kennedy School at 5736 N.E. 33rd Avenue in Portland. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Oregon Marguerite Scholarship Fund at the Oregon State Chapter P.E.O. Sisterhood Charitable Trust using the form and mailing address here: http://bit.ly/2iOjbOT .
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