May 11, 1926 - August 15, 2021
Mary Lewis (Oppedal) Johnsen, a long-time resident of El Paso, Texas passed away on August 15, 2021 at the age of 95. Mary was the only child born to Elmer and Jane Oppedal of Tucson, Arizona. After her elementary and middle school education at St. Joseph’s Academy in Tucson, Mary attended high school at the prestigious Mary A. Burnham School for Girls in Northampton, Massachusetts. There, she was a member of the equestrian team, and excelled in journalism and the dramatic arts. She often boasted that one of her teachers was Raymond Burr who later became a famous actor in his portrayal of Perry Mason and Ironside. After graduation in 1943, she returned to Tucson, and attended the University of Arizona, majoring in drama and journalism. As World War II ensued, her future husband, A.M. (Guy / Swede) Johnsen, flew into her life, literally. Receiving tactical pilot training at an Army Air Corp base nearby, Guy met Mary at a local hotel swimming pool where she was a life guard. The story is that he was trying to impress her with his diving ability, ended up hitting his head, and she saved him. Guy served in the Indo-China Burma theater as a “hump pilot” and after a 100-letter courtship, they were married in Tucson in 1946. A picture from their wedding ceremony showed Mary sitting in a chair at the altar – she had broken out with the measles that morning! But that was not an omen, and she stayed devoted to her forever dance partner for 59 wonderful years, before Guy’s passing in 2005. Immediately after their marriage, Mary and Guy moved to El Paso, Texas where Guy was hired by the El Paso Natural Gas Company (EPNG) to pioneer their first corporate aviation program. Guy’s spontaneous schedule kept Mary close to home raising, loving, supporting and protecting their three children. She was active in all their lives – cub scouts, brownies, baseball, ballet, bowling, ball-room dancing, swimming lessons, cheerleading try-outs, band concerts, driving lessons et al. She was an expert at teenage conflict management using the famous motto, “Just wait until your dad comes home.” Mary took pride in her participation as a volunteer in several community organizations. She was a member for many years on the Thomason General Hospital Auxiliary, the Woman’s Club of El Paso, and was active in St. Albans Episcopal Church. Probably her greatest passion was the game of bridge and her fellow table-mates considered her an extremely talented player. More importantly, over the years, she cultivated many friends whom she treasured greatly. She loved the comradery, but as a fierce competitor, she loved taking home the two-dollar pot! Mary is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Guy and her son Scott. Those who survive her and remember her lovingly: son Dr. Guy Johnsen and his wife Kathy of El Paso; daughter Carolyn Johnsen and her husband Richard Nye of Phoenix, Arizona; grandchildren Mark Johnsen, Erin Johnsen, Sarahummingbird Johnsen, Lindsey Nye (Dan), Shelby Proud (Devin), and great grandchildren, Emma, Henry, Lila, Declan, and Holden. The family wishes to thank the many kind and generous caregivers: Solstice Senior Living Center staff; Angels-On-Hand home care providers (Liz, Bertha, Sandra, Pat, Martha, and Laura); her wonderful physicians Drs. Dobrin, He, Friday, Faith, King, Olson, Caldwell, Westbrook, Misenhimer and Trubowitsch; Nurse Practitioner Marie Woznicki; Infusion nurses (Perry, Kim, Wendy, Amber, Diana, Terry, and Marisol); and Principle Hospice nurse Andrea Paige. You all were awesome! A Graveside Service will be held at Fort Bliss National Cemetery on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 at 11:00am for family and friends with the Rev. Jim Tolbert presiding. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to your favorite animal rescue agency, or St. Alban’s Episcopal Church.
Mary Lewis (Oppedal) Johnsen, a long-time resident of El Paso, Texas passed away on August 15, 2021 at the age of 95. Mary was the only child born to Elmer and Jane Oppedal of Tucson, Arizona. After her elementary and middle school education... View Obituary & Service Information
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