Marion Ruby Johnson – The Last Of A Generation
Marion Johnson, RD, passed away peacefully in the morning, January 20, 2023. She was born on January 31,
1923 in Mabton, Washington to Henry and Myrtle Ruby. Henry trained horses and managed a unit in the Army
Horse Calvary and Myrtle taught school in Yakima until her move to Mabton. Marion was very close with her
brother, Robert, born in 1921. At the age of two their mother died leaving them to be lovingly raised by their
father on their farm in Mabton. She attended schools in Mabton for her early education where she was active in
musicals, drama and sports. As a young girl, she raised turkeys for college money. Robert and she were
instrumental in forming a youth group in the Mabton Presbyterian Church. Marion remembered a joyful
childhood where she and Robert would play “circus”. He was the ringmaster and she rode bareback, standing
on her horse. They would often ride their horses to school. She loved to ride her horse, Gray, in the Washington
countryside and enjoyed hunting for the family meals.
Marion graduated from Mabton High School in 1941 where she was a top academic performer in her class. She
went on to attend Whitworth College in Spokane for two years then transferred to Washington State University
in Pullman where she graduated with a degree in Institutional Economics in 1944. She served an internship at
Harper Hospital in Detroit, MI, returning west in 1945. Marion accepted the position of Director of Dining Halls
at Idaho State University in Pocatello where she met LeRoy (Bus) Johnson whom she married in 1947. Then in
1949 they moved into Bus’s parents’ home which they eventually made into their permanent home on Payette
Lake in McCall. Marion and LeRoy purchased his brother’s service station in downtown McCall. She was the
bookkeeper and they made it into the award-winning Conoco station until they sold on March 31,1973.
The McCall Congregational Church was another very important part of Marion’s life. She was active in the early
church, serving on the board as superintendent of Sunday school and singing in the choir. She was the staff
dietitian for the McCall Memorial Hospital, now St. Luke’s McCall Hospital, and on the hospital board for 23
years. She also traveled to the other central Idaho hospitals including Council and Cascade where she served as
staff dietitian for several years. Marion was a founding officer and past president of the Idaho Dietitian
Association. She was active in the McCall community and spent may hours volunteering her time for different
events including Eastern Star in which she was Matron and life member and a leader in the Payette Lakes
Progressive Club. She built several amazing snow sculptures during the Winter Carnival and served on the McCall
Marion’s love for horseback riding began at the age of two on their family farm. She especially enjoyed horses
and dogs. In McCall, she was fond of riding her Arabian mare, Lady, with her son Shawn and his quarter horse
throughout the Idaho back country. They attended the Valley County Fair for many years showing their horses.
She had many dogs but especially loved Tonka, a black Labrador retriever. They could be seen on Brundage
Mountain or walking around town getting the ever-important exercise.
Marion had the opportunity to travel through several countries with Robert. She enjoyed plays and operas in
New York City, London and Paris. Her travels included South America where she spent eight days going up the
Amazon River to the Andes Mountains. She also traveled to England, France, Italy and Switzerland. She was in
Germany in November, 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down. While there, she went through Checkpoint
Charlie into East Berlin where Wagner’s Lohengrin music was playing. Marion traveled to the Philippines where
she was invited into Imelda Marcos’s palace, enjoying a gourmet meal as well as traveling to Peking (now
Beijing) China after it’s first opening by President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. As a registered
dietitian, she was allowed into kitchens learning their cooking techniques, also participating in Tai Chi with the
local people. She was fortunate to see daily life in the Soviet Union during her trip to Moscow, Russia. She very
much enjoyed traveling with her husband throughout the United States visiting friends and family and was
actively involved in taking her sons to ski races throughout the northwest. She taught her sons how to ski at the
Little Ski Hill and Brundage enjoying skiing with family and friends until her 80’s.
As a professional, Marion was very comfortable in a boardroom meeting with senior executives or doctors but
just as comfortable in a sheepherder’s tent cooking hearty, nutritious meals on a camp stove. She found
immense pleasure in fishing or gold mining in the Idaho back country. For Marion, the game of Bridge was
serious but meant to be enjoyed, making some great friendships along the way. Bus and Marion would light up
the dance floor when their dinner club would get together at the Shore Lodge to warm up the winter!
Beach front barbeques, surrounded by family was a favorite of hers. She would often organize scrumptious,
extended family meals for up to 50 folks consisting of local, natural delicacies including huckleberries, freshly
caught fish, elk and morel mushrooms. Marion brought ceremony to the events she led or participated in. She
was a great cook and her lively personality brought people to her table. She brought out dishes sequentially and
led engaging conversations throughout these meals. With all of her many experiences, she was also a great
listener. In the words of her niece, her coffee table chats became wonderful therapy sessions.
Marion and Bus raised three boys; Craig (Jan), Brent, Shawn (Kathryn) and dearly loved her five grandchildren;
Chase (Angie), Portland, OR, Toby, San Gwann Malta, Olivia, Noah and Isabel, Georgetown, TX and her great
grandchildren, Mateo and Diego, Chase and Angie’s children.
Marion is survived by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her
husband, LeRoy (Bus) and her brother, Dr. Robert H. Ruby, Moses Lake, WA.
Marion was the foundation of her family and inspired them with her love and positive, unlimited support. We
mourn with the passing of Marion and yet rejoice in her strong testimony in Christ. She is with God and all the
Saints. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in Marion’s memory to the Snowden Wildlife
Sanctuary in McCall. Her graveside service is scheduled for Tuesday, January 31 at 3 p.m. at the
Mabton Washington Cemetery.
Online condolences may be left at www.mccallfunerals.com
Arrangements in care of McCall Funeral Home, McCall, Idaho.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marion Ruby Johnson, please visit our floral store.
Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary
PO Box 2004, McCall ID 83638-2004