Canby Funeral Chapel
Molalla Funeral Chapel
Obituaries & Tributes
Betty Larson Johnson
date of birth November 20 1927
date of death August 1 2020
Betty Johnson was born in Portland, Oregon on November 20, 1927 to Babette and Linus Larson. She had one sister, Eleanor, born just 11 months later. Babette had immigrated to the US as a young teenager from Germany and Linus was also an immigrant from Sweden in the late 1890’s. Betty was very proud of being a 1st generation American. Later in her life she frequently spoke at Citizenship ceremonies and described being the daughter of immigrants, as well as talking about her experience of living through the Cuban revolution. Betty attended Jefferson High School in Portland and the Mallory Christian Church where she met Randy in Sunday School. Betty was just 15 when Randy left to join the Navy during the World War II. A favorite story is that Randy told her to “Grow up” while he was gone so they could start dating when he returned. Which they did, obviously!
Betty attended Willamette University in Salem, OR for two years until she and Randy married on August 29, 1948 and settled in Corvallis where Betty worked as a kindegarden teacher while Randy finished his college degree. Randy accepted a position with Libby McNeill and Libby and worked for Libby’s for 23 years. During the “Libby years” the Johnson family moved 20 times making dear, life-long friends in Portland, Yakima (3x), Cuba, Chicago (2x), Puerto Rico and several places in California. Betty had a gift for developing and maintaining life-long friends wherever they lived.
In 1972 after traveling the world they moved to Nampa, Idaho where they established deep roots and more lasting friendships.Several years later Betty attended Boise State, graduating when she was 50 with a Bachelor’s in Social Work. Betty then entered the new world of Hospice, becoming the 1st Director of Volunteers for the Mercy Hospital Hospice program. It was one of the 1st in the nation, and Betty attended numerous national conferences to get hospice started around the US. Through her hospice work, Betty helped over 800 families during the illness and death of a family member. She was beloved by so many for her compassion, her teaching, and her inspired ability to contact someone just when they needed her wisdom and unconditional love. Betty was honored with the Jefferson Award for Idaho for her hospice and volunteer work and years after retirement had a full page newspaper article about her impact in the Nampa community.
Betty also loved to recognize special events for her family and friends, planning innumerable luncheons, dinner parties, baby and wedding showers, any reason for gathering together; hosting an annual, week-long ski vacation at Bogus Basin for 22 years, and attending the Sun Valley Jazz Festival annually. Betty and Randy were married for 66 wonderful, adventurous years before Randy passed away in February of 2015. After staying for 4 years in the family home in Nampa, Betty moved to independent living apartment in Milwaukie, OR in June of 2019, closer to her son Lee. Betty passed away on Saturday, August 1st and will be deeply missed for her amazing and unflagging interest in people and what they were doing, her deep and enduring love for so many, and her quiet and strong faith.
Betty is survived by daughter Marlene Mason (Tim), and sons Brian and Lee (Steve); grandchildren Nels Mason (Laura), and Kristina Mason (Tony Badger); and Jean and Kim Whipple and grandchildren Rand (Jen), Nels and Marita and 7 great children, and many beloved nieces and nephews. Betty and Randy also have numerous “adopted” children including Tony and Linda Young of Nampa and their children and grandchildren.
Celebration of Life will be held in Nampa at a later date. Memorials can be sent to First United Presbyterian Church in Nampa, contact Sharon Barrett at email@example.com or208-863-9931 or make a remembrance to Providence Milwaukie Hospice Fund, Light Up a Life program at Providence.org/lightupalife or call 503-215-4622 and request the Milwaukie Hospice Light Up a Life program.
2 tribute candles have been lit
Candle lit by Staff at Canby-Molalla Funeral Chapel Our sincere condolences.
Candle lit by Nanette La Du For all the times you called and left a message to remind me I was loved.