Martha Johnson

November 21, 1935 - November 28, 2020

Obituary

“Her song is ended, but the melody lingers on.”

Martha (Muffy) Marit Skarperud Johnson passed away on Saturday, November 28th, 2020 on Mercer Island, Washington at the age of 85.

Muffy attended Weatherwax High School in Aberdeen, Washington where she became the first female Vice President of the student body. She graduated high school in 1953 and went on to attend the University of Washington, majoring in College of Arts & Sciences Music. Muffy pledged Chi Omega sorority.  While in college she was crowned Miss Greenlake, became a Seafair Princess and was nominated Varsity Ball Queen.  She was also Miss Airpower of Airforce ROTC in 1957, the same year she graduated UW.  Muffy returned to the UW to receive her teacher’s certificate in 1960.

Muffy and George met during her senior year of college in 1957 and were married on November 28, 1959. George and Muffy’s marriage philosophy was to always be dedicated to each other and to their family. Muffy’s passing marked their 61st wedding anniversary to the day.

Beginning her teaching career at Casper W. Sharpless Junior High School in south Seattle, Muffy also taught English and Music at Rainier Beach High School where she was the advisor to the class of 1966.  Her bond with the 360 students of Rainier Beach class of ’66 was an endless source of pride, which she continued to foster in the decades that followed. Her students honored her by naming the school’s music room after her in 2016, 50 years following their graduation.

Muffy was a concert pianist and sang with the Vocal Motion choir group.  She was a member of the Mercer Island Beach Club where her boys participated in swim team. She also belonged to the charitable Child Hearing League, Sunset Club and the Seattle Yacht Club.  She volunteered at Children’s Hospital and was an ardent supporter of animals through Pasado’s Safe Haven.

Muffy is survived by her husband of 61 years, George Putnam Johnson, her two sons, Peter (Christy Wallace) Johnson of Bellevue, Washington and David (Dara) Johnson of Old Greenwich, Connecticut.  Grandchildren include Maxwell (18), Elizabeth (15), Luke (10) and Jack (8).

When asked how she wanted to be remembered, she replied “Having fun.” Muffy will also be remembered for her warmth, generosity, strong values and sense of fairness.  She was a wonderful wife and fantastic mother who always put family first. A lover of all animals, she had a special fondness for owls, the official mascot of her sorority.

Funeral services will be private due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

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Tammy Walker
Tammy Walker
3 months ago

Your mom was a truly an extraordinary woman and was admired by everyone who knew her! ❤️

Christy Wallace
Christy Wallace
3 months ago

I’ll always remember Muffy’s quick wit, strong values and dedication to her family. Sending my deepest sympathies to George and the family. Please know that I share in your grief.

Lynn Elliott
Lynn Elliott
27 days ago

Quick with death clauses on family members

Lynn Elliott
Lynn Elliott
27 days ago

They have put a death clause on me after 22 years of marriage to John. Death they will for anyone who gets in their way

Donna & Gene Jansen
Donna & Gene Jansen
3 months ago

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of Muffy’S family and dear friends. Such a beautiful lady inside and out. I love this picture, she will always be smiling down at us. ❤️

Lynn Elliott
Lynn Elliott
26 days ago

So how many times honestly did you eat the bill

Dick Dennis
Dick Dennis
2 months ago

Muffy was a wonderful person and will always be held in my heart. We will all miss her.

Cal Crow
Cal Crow
2 months ago

Muffy and I were first year teachers at Sharples Jr. High in 1957 and assigned to Rainier Beach 3 years later. She and George had a 50+ year love affair with the class of “66. I was honored to be invited to witness it. Bon Voyage, Muffy.

Gail Woodward Hanson
Gail Woodward Hanson
2 months ago

My thoughts and prayers are with the family. Mrs. Johnson was a wonderful teacher and the very best class advisor any class could have. She supported the Class of 1966 110%. And I’m sure she was as dedicated to her family.

Paula Evans Monsef
Paula Evans Monsef
2 months ago

Mrs. Johnson kept our homeroom on its toes for six years – 1960-1966. Her dedication to our homeroom and our entire class was remarkable and a gradually-revealed gift that continued into our adult lives. What a treasure! We were fortunate to have her in our lives. My condolences to George and all your family.

Gail Vosper Hirschkorn
Gail Vosper Hirschkorn
2 months ago

Mrs. Johnson was a wonderful person & teacher. She was also our Class of 1966 Class Advisor at Rainier Beach High School. She truly loved our class and showed it so many times with her kindness and generosity throughout the years. She will always to in our hearts. My thoughts and prayers go out to George and the entire family. RIP Muffy

granger trucking company
granger trucking company
2 months ago

God Bless you Mrs. Johnson.Always a pretty smile.. Guy Granger 66

Larry Allen
Larry Allen
2 months ago

God bless you Muffy. I will never forget you.

Richard N Davis
Richard N Davis
2 months ago

I remember my brother warning me about Miss Skarperud, but when I arrived at RB in 1960 she was married and my brother was totally off the mark. Mrs. Johnson was a new, beautiful, and lovely individual. Always a smile on her face, she exuded a sense of warmth and earnest which gave the impression of real friendship. So much so, that 20 years later in 1986 after inviting her and George to a Grand Opening of my business (in Nevada), she sent her best wishes along with a giant flower display. She cared so much about everyone. Her star shines.

Dr. Robert Skarperud
Dr. Robert Skarperud
2 months ago

Auntie Muff, Thank you for all your thoughtful lessons you taught us. Your devotion to family and friends was unmatched. Skal and Cheerio!

Harv Jaffe
Harv Jaffe
2 months ago

Where to start? We participated in and witnessed something enduring when this remarkable woman became part of our lives in Fall of 1960, back when Eisenhower was still President! These are my personal reflections, the story of a woman that one day could be told on the Lifetime or Hallmark TV networks.

With humble beginnings as 7th graders at the new Rainier Beach Jr-Sr High in Seattle, most of us were assigned to a music class taught by a young, newly married teacher, Martha Johnson.

We may have been a little intimidated then by Mrs. Johnson’s stern demeanor, but little did we know how much of a pivotal force she would become in the lives of 350 students from the Class of 1966…the first class to go through a full six years at the new school.

Muffy was there as a guiding hand in 1962, when I became freshman class VP, and first experienced her mentor-ship as our class advisor. Late that year, she came to visit me in the hospital, while I was recovering from head injuries due to an auto accident in December, 1962.

Muffy was there again to challenge and guide me in spring of 1965, when I was voted to lead our Senior class as President.. She reminded me that I had ‘some big shoes to fill’, as I defeated the favored Junior class President for that position.

I took her word to heart, never forgot it, and used it as motivation to lead our class with determination and spirit. In the end, we bonded as a class, and had a Great year together.

Our graduation in June, 1966 also turned out to be Muffy’s ‘graduation’, as she retired from her teaching career, and moved on for her and George to start their family.

At that point, our formal ‘school’ relationship with Muffy may have ended, but our enduring six-decade ‘classmate’ relationship with Muffy and George was just beginning.

After I graduated University of Washington, Muffy and George were present at my wedding in December, 1970. As time passed and we raised our families, Muffy continued to be a guiding hand as we planned our many RBHS class reunions every 5 or 10 years at different Seattle venues.

In between reunions, Muffy and George were incredibly generous to host our entire class of 300+ to several dinner cruises on Lake Washington, as we hit age milestones, just for the joy of celebrating together. The pleasure it gave her to be involved with us many years later, NEVER wavered! We may have been her ‘Second Family’, but Muffy was as dedicated, loyal and caring about each one of us, as if we were her ‘First’!

We were fortunate to experience something so special and long lasting, that we’ll be forever grateful for Muffy’s presence in our lives! She was a rare and unique woman, generous with her heart and time. In this era of fleeting relationships, we were gifted with Muffy’s irreplaceable and loving spirit.

With condolences to George, Peter, David and families, may Muffy’s memory be a blessing and example for others to live by. “God speed, Mrs. J.!”

Sandy Elefson Colson
Sandy Elefson Colson
2 months ago

It wasn’t until our 50th class reunion that I learned two things. First, Mrs. Johnson was only 12 years older than those of us in the Class of 66. Secondly, she took on the job as our class advisor for an extra $10 per month.That was much too little for all that she did for our class in 6 years. Despite being only 12 years older than we were, she was more than up to the task and then some. I was in her homeroom for 6 years. I believe that we were probably the best behaved homeroom in the entire school for all 6 years.On the day we graduated, she and Mr. Johnson took our homeroom class to lunch at the Space Needle.

As we remember, the Johnsons hosted parties over the years that were to commemorate special times in our lives, or just for fun. In truth, I have never heard of a party held for 300 plus people because they were at the age to receive their first Social Security check.
Our 50th class reunion was the capstone of 56 years of being a cohesive and caring group of classmates. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were part of our class for 60 years.

Over they years, I would receive mail from Mrs. Johnson about my classmates. I would receive updates and accolades on various classmates. I would also get sad news about the death of a classmate or a former teacher at Rainier Beach. She went to funerals and memorial services for classmates. When my mother died, she came to her memorial service. We were all and always under her watchful eyes and caring countenance.

I recently read in a book on how we die. Our first death is when we actually leave this earth. The second death is when the last person speaks our name. Mrs. Johnson will be with us for so many years to come.

Lynn Elliott
Lynn Elliott
27 days ago

John 3:16

Lynn Elliott
Lynn Elliott
27 days ago

L

Lynn Elliott
Lynn Elliott
27 days ago
Reply to  Lynn Elliott

I can personally say as skarperud timber my husband John gave more to them than they ever gave to us