Mary L. (Bowen) VanFredenberg JOHNSON 1921- 2014
Born Thanksgiving Day, 1921 (after her mother put the turkey in the oven), Mary, 92, passed away April 1, 2014. She grew up during the Depression in a small town in Wyoming, forming values of thrift, hard work, education and helping others. As valedictorian of her high school graduating class in 1939, she received a scholarship to the University of Wyoming.
After teaching in a one-room schoolhouse, she came to Washington, where she worked at Ft. Lewis, then managed the Mt. Rainier Ordnance Depot until she accepted a position in the Governor’s office. Sent as a representative to a political convention, she met and subsequently married Donald R. Van Fredenberg, a long-time Seattle attorney.
Mary raised her family while devoting many hours of volunteer work to such organizations as the PTA and Children’s Orthopedic Hospital. She was a member of West Side Presbyterian Church for over 40 years. After her children were grown, she returned to the work force, selling real estate, managing the family’s rental properties, and as a career counselor at Ballard High School. Mary and Don traveled the world.
After 13 years as Don’s caregiver and his death from Alzheimer’s Disease, she married Robert R. Johnson, another longtime resident of West Seattle. They enjoyed 14 wonderful years together as snowbirds, traveling between Green Valley, AZ and Allyn, WA.
Predeceased by both of her husbands; her beloved son, Jim; and her granddaughter, Victoria, Mary is survived by her daughter, Sue Somers; five grandsons; and six great-grandchildren.
Diagnosed with terminal cancer and congestive heart failure, Mary exercised her legal right to end her own life through the State of Washington’s Death with Dignity Act. She donated her body to the University of Washington School of Medicine.
There will be no services at her request. Any remembrances may be made to Compassion & Choices of Washington, PO Box 61369, Seattle, WA 98141, The American Cancer Society or The Alzheimer’s Association.
Published in The West Seattle Herald Section of The Westside Weekly April 18, 2014