WILMINGTON --- On Sunday, June 12 Marie Ellen Newton Johnson passed away peacefully in Wilmington. Born Sept. 16, 1941, she was 80 years old. Marie is survived by her husband, Don (82), and their children Donald (Jennie) and Laura (Joe). She was the grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, Christian (16), Maelin (3), Anthony (12), and Troy (7).
Marie was born a southern farm girl in Roxboro to Elsie Yarbrough and Earl Newton. She was the oldest of five children having three brothers, Harold, Bobby Gerald, and Larry Ray; and one sister, Debra. She started her life in a 3-room cabin with no electricity and no indoor plumbing. Water for cooking, drinking, and bathing was drawn by bucket from a hand-dug well. When she got older, she had to balance her schoolwork with helping around the farm milking cows, tobacco farming, gardening, and taking care of her siblings. In high school she drove the school bus to make about $25 a month. These formative years spent on the farm in the hardworking and supportive Bushy Fork community prepared Marie well as she began her own journey to college and beyond. She would use many of the traits and values she gained from her time in Bushy Fork to positively impact many others throughout her life experiences.
She completed two years at Mars Hill College and graduated from Appalachian State University with a Master’s Degree in Education. Shortly after college, she was named the National Grange Princess and traveled the country to speak as their ambassador. She credits the Grange for her many leadership skills. Marie worked as a dedicated elementary school teacher for 26 years, first in Winston-Salem, and Quantico, Va., then on to Germany to teach with the Department of Defense Dependent Schools for the majority of her career (16 years). She ended her teaching career at Ft. Stewart, Ga..
It was in Germany that she met the love of her life, Don, who was a teacher/principal at the school where she worked. They married in 1970 in Amberg, Germany. During school breaks, they traveled extensively through Europe and the United States together. Marie was a devoted mother to their two children Donald and Laura. She stayed home with the children for 11 years before returning to the classroom.
Marie and Don retired in Wilmington where she enjoyed time at the beach, working in her flower garden, cooking delicious meals, and visiting with friends and family.
Marie is known for many things: wife, mother, grandmother, friend, teacher, princess, a committed Christian, avid sports fan, detailed note-taker, a writer of letters, daily journaler, reader, cook, follower of current events, and appreciator of beauty and excellence. She genuinely loved people and they loved her. Her relationships were the most important thing to her- God, family, and friends. She made efforts to keep in touch and stay connected to friends and family wherever she had them. She left home and loved the many experiences while working and traveling abroad, but her heart was always with the Bushy Fork community.
There will be a memorial service to celebrate Marie’s life on July 30 at 2 p.m. at Clement Baptist Church in Hurdle Mills. If you feel inclined to honor Marie with a donation in her name, please consider making a contribution to Clement Baptist Church or to the charity of your choice.