Obituary for Marilyn Johnson (Schultz)
Marilyn S. Johnson, 79, entered eternal life on January 23, 2018 in Las Cruces. She was a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother and will be greatly missed. Marilyn was born on January 18, 1939 in Las Vegas, New Mexico, to Albert A. and Lydia M. Schultz. She grew up on a ranch located on the Storrie Project outside of Las Vegas. For the first few years of Marilyn’s education, she attended school in a one room, red brick school house where first through 8th grade students gathered from the Storrie Project. Although the teacher, made the fire each day, swept the floors after school, and carried water in a pail for the students to drink, Marilyn was impressed by how much the teacher influenced and improved each of the student’s lives through education. This sterling example of a teacher inspired Marilyn to become a teacher, and it just so happened that this teacher was Marilyn’s mother, Lydia.
Marilyn received a Bachelor of Science in Teaching in 1961 and a Master of Art in Teaching in 1967 from New Mexico State University (NMSU) and had more than 30 hours credit post master’s degree. She began her teaching career in 1962 and taught for 41 ½ years in the Las Cruces Public Schools (LCPS), primarily at Fairacres and Central Elementary Schools. She believed that for each child to be capable of accomplishing their true potential, the teacher must also directly believe that the child can achieve at a higher level and instill this belief in them. She felt the greatest reward of being a teacher was from the accomplishments her students made after leaving her classroom. She was very proud when her former students returned to see her, as many did, and they shared their life successes and told how their lives were changed by being in her classroom.
Always pushing to achieve more, Marilyn developed and led several first-time organizations at Central Elementary. She created a Student Council for the students to learn about government, established a fifth-grade graduation to enhance the idea of the importance of staying in school, published the first all school newspaper with the help of the Sun News, presented the first elementary school television show, and established the first elementary computer laboratory in LCPS. Marilyn was a well-respected teacher and sought out mentor. She was the Supervising Teacher for 27 NMSU student teachers and practicum students, helping to guide and develop the next generation of excellent teachers. Her influence spread outside the classroom, as she was a member of the State Department of Education Accreditation Team for the Gadsden School District.
For her efforts, Marilyn received many awards and recognitions during her long teaching career including the New Mexico House of Representatives Outstanding Achievement and Exceptional Accomplishment award. She was given many outstanding teacher awards by both students and parents as well as by the Southern New Mexico Media Awareness Council and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
While attending NMSU, Marilyn met and married Harry T. Johnson July 31, 1965, in Las Cruces. Although Harry had also attended elementary and high school in Las Vegas, New Mexico, at various times, Marilyn and Harry did not know each other since they were in different grades. Marilyn’s mother claimed that they had chased one another around the Greyhound bus depot at age 5 or 6, but neither of them remembered it.
Marilyn is survived by her husband of 52 years, Harry, of Las Cruces, by her son, Michael, and wife, Juana, and grandchildren, Joseph, Rudy, Michael, and Sarina of Las Cruces, and by her daughter, Catherine (Missy), and husband, Charles Allerson, and grandson, Christopher, of San Diego. She was preceded in death by her parents Albert A. Schultz who died in 2004 and Lydia M. Schultz who died in 2000.
Marilyn’s services will be held Monday, February 5, 2018, at 10:00 am at the Getz Funeral Home with Pastor Dr. Carl E. Chitwood officiating. Per her wishes, she was cremated, and her family will distribute her ashes at her favorite vacation location on the Pacific Ocean. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to the American Diabetes Association.