Marilyn Dee Johnson was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She lived her life selflessly giving to others, making time to be there for her family and creating many lasting memories for those she leaves behind. Her many talents of crocheting, gardening, and hosting large family get-togethers over the years will be deeply missed by her family and special friends. She filled any occasion with laughter and shared her love unconditionally with everyone lucky enough to have known her.
Despite the 1930’s being marked by tough economic times, the decade also saw an expansion of new technologies, especially in the fields of aviation, radio, and film. In 1936 for example, Kodachrome was invented and remained a steadfast leader in both cinematography and still photography for many years. In the same year, the Boulder Dam, later renamed the Hoover Dam was completed and Jesse Owens dominated the Berlin Olympics. Bringing great joy to their world, William "Ben" R. and Edith Irene (Gay) Shoda welcomed home their newborn daughter, Marilyn born on June 7, 1936, in Columbia City, Indiana. Her birth brought much happiness into their lives as she was their only daughter. Marilyn was the baby sister to her older brothers, Ralph and Paul, and eventually was the older sister to her younger brother, Raymond.
Growing up on Swihart Street, she lived a typical childhood of the times. She played games in the streets with the neighborhood children and was never one to sulk or complain of nothing to do. If fact, with both of her parents working outside the family home, she often pitched in to complete household chores including putting dinner on the table when they returned home. Later, as a teen, the family moved to the Van Buren and Oak Street area where they remained for many years.
As a growing teen, Marilyn’s life blossomed. Roller skating was a favorite pastime of many teens and Marilyn was no stranger to the local rink! It was there that she met Paul Gilbert Johnson who would change the course of her life forever! He had recognized her from working at White’s Market and approached her that fateful night in 1953. Two years after her graduation from Columbia High School in 1954 and after Paul returned home from his military service with the U.S. Army, they started planning their wedding. Joining in marriage at Grace Lutheran Church on June 24, 1956 with Pastor Graham Kleespie as their officiating pastor, the happy couple settled in the area. Throughout their years together, she and Paul welcomed five wonderful children into their loving home.
Marilyn loved her role as a mother. In addition to being a full-time mom to Frank, Judy, Deb, Carla, and Galen, she also had worked at Frank’s Greenhouse, Lincoln Life, the Coesse School cafeteria and Magnavox cafeteria over the years. As a young family, they cherished many memories of camping together. They also loved to take long Sunday drives to watch their local area grow including watching the construction of the dams around Indiana. Back in 1969, the family ventured to Florida for a vacation over Christmas break. They were so enamored with the area, they were happy to return years later with their youngest son. They stopped at many locations along the way in order to visit interesting sites and family on their way there and back! Marilyn enjoyed their time together, yet she much preferred to be at home where she was content in her garden or helping out on the family farm.
Known to keep herself busy and active in her many different interests over the years, Marilyn was never one to remain idle. A large majority of her years were spent being a 4-H leader when her children were active in the program. She was a longtime active member of her home church, Hope Lutheran where she enjoyed sharing many of her unique talents with others during her time there. She enjoyed crocheting lap robes for shut-ins and designing floral arrangements from the cut flowers from her own garden. An avid doll collector, Marilyn was also crafty and known for her wonderful cake decorations! Amidst her active lifestyle, she always found time for her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren! Marilyn’s legacy was service to others. Nothing brought her greater joy than to know that her life had purpose and meaning which she found through her selfless acts of giving. She leaves behind a wonderful collection of happy and fond memories for all who knew and loved her.
Marilyn Dee Johnson, 81, of Columbia City, passed away Thursday morning, June 15, 2017, at her home. Survivors include her loving husband, Paul G. Johnson, of Columbia City; children, Frank (Sherry) Johnson, of Columbia City; Judy (Wayne Krider) Johnson, of Churubusco; Deb (Dana) Claxton, of Columbia City; Karla (Steve) Gross, of Churubusco; Galen (Robin) Johnson, of Columbia City; brother, Paul (P.J.) Shoda, of Columbia City; ten grandchildren, Chelsie (Landon) Lawrence, Wesley Johnson, Jared Gross, Courtney Johnson, Evan Johnson, Brendan Johnson, Arielle Johnson, Sabrina Johnson, Amy Anderson and Carrie (Stan) Tormoehlen; and six great-grandchildren, Kinley Lawrence, Kaiden Anderson, Chloe Anderson and Cole Anderson, Madisen Polly and Brayden Polly. She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Raymond and Ralph Shoda; sisters-in-law, Marilyn Engle and Janet (Karst) Shoda; and brother-in-law, Eddie Gross.
Visitation is from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services are 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at Hope Lutheran Church, 2001 S 500 E, Columbia City with Chaplin Forrest Tabor officiating. Burial will follow at Union Township Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made in her memory to Heartland Hospice. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send the family condolences or sign the guest register book.