Marilyn White Johnson, 93 passed away peacefully Monday, May 30, 2022 in her beloved mountain home and birthplace Salt Lake City, Utah. Marilyn was the third child born to Neil and Valerie White July 22, 1928. Educated in Salt Lake City, Utah she graduated from East High School in 1945 and received her BS in Home Economics from the University of Utah in 1950. She was the first member of her family to receive a college degree. She was a proud member of the Beta Gamma Chapter of Delta Gamma Sorority. Marilyn married Marvin Johnson on May 8, 1951 in the Salt Lake LDS temple. Their married life took them to Livermore California, Salt Lake City, and finally Bartlesville Oklahoma where they put down deep roots and raised their family.
Marilyn was a woman of many talents which included being an exquisite seamstress, an accomplished writer, stage actress and a most excellent home maker. She lovingly made the wedding dresses for her 3 daughters and many granddaughters. They were truly a work of art. Marilyn completed intricate birth announcement cross stitch kits for all 38 great grandchildren and was working on one up until the day before she passed away. Marilyn passed her love of home and family values on to her children. Sunday dinners were a sacred family tradition and continue in the homes of her posterity. Her family and community benefited from her appreciation and willingness to share her love for decorum, culture and hospitality. People knew they were welcome in the Johnson Home. Marilyn had friends of all ages and was greatly loved and admired.
She was a woman of unwavering faith and was dedicated to the service of others. She served twice as the President of the Relief Society of the LDS women’s auxiliary and president of the Primary Children’s Organization. At the age of 89, she served as the secretary to the Young Womens Youth Organization. She was gifted with a keen intellect, sharp mind and wit till the very end. Marilyn loved life and was joyfully engaged in the lives of her children and grandchildren who adored her. Her children appreciated her fun loving spirit who was always willing to throw a party, even if it meant she was making waffles at midnight for her son’s high school buddies. It was this group of boys who fondly renamed her “Mumzy” and the name stuck. This was her joy, she brought the fun. Never wanting to be left out, Marilyn learned to text, was an avid Facebook contributor and read the local paper daily.
One of Marilyn’s greatest passions was community theater. She shyly auditioned for Bartlesville’s Little Theater Music Man in 1966 and was chosen for a “pick-a-little-talk-a -little” lady. The hook was set…5 musicals and many many plays later she became a petrified (as in cast in stone) member of theater activities. She wrote and directed Mausoleum Stories for the White Rose Cemetery for many years making it a successful production. She served on the Theater Bartlesville board of directors, past president of Harlequins (a former theater auxiliary), wrote and directed Windsong From the Prairie in 1997, which included a cast and crew of at least 100, with live horses, a stagecoach and a controlled prairie fire in the Osage! Her most satisfying role and crowning jewel in her theatrical crown was her leading role in The Trip to Bountiful in 2013 directed by Joe Sears. She was 85 and was intimidated about her ability to memorize lines but she pulled off a stellar performance and sold out the house. She continued to advise the Theater Board in an unofficial capacity following her stage retirement. However, she never really stopped performing for her admiring family, friends and fans.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband Marvin, her parents, a brother Robert Neil White and sister Jenalyn Fox. She is survived by sister Claudia White Ellett of Murray, UT, son Mark Alan Johnson (Barbara) of Salt Lake City, Utah; daughters Jennifer Hanseen (Ross) of Salt Lake City, UT, Lorelie Ahlert (Jeffrey) of Bartlesville, OK and Marianne (Mark) of Denham Springs, LA, 21 Grandchildren and 39 Great-grandchildren.
Guests are welcome to join the family in celebrating Marilyn’s life on June 4, 2022 at Larkin Sunset Lawn 2350 East 1300 South Salt Lake City, Utah from 4:00pm-6:00pm.
Marilyn will be laid to rest beside her beloved husband Marvin in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. There will be a viewing Friday June 10, 2022 at Arnold Moore Neekamp Funeral Home at 710 Dewey Ave. Bartlesville, OK and family will receive visitors from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. Funeral Services will be held Saturday June 11, 2022 at 11:00am at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1501 Swan Drive.
A Theater Scholarship will be established in Marilyn Johnson’s name. Contributions may be sent to Theater Bartlesville, 312 Dewey Avenue, Bartlesville, OK, 74003 or Theaterbartlesville.com for online donations.
To quote the great naturalist and author John Muir, “The mountains are calling and I must go”---Marilyn heeded the call and so she went. Go rest high on that mountain Mumzy Marilyn Johnson.