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Obituary for Vivian Johnson


VIVIAN S. JOHNSON
MACHIAS — Vivian Elizabeth (Stoddard) Johnson, 97, died August 21, 2018, in Machias. She was born March 25, 1921, in East Machias, the only daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Harmon) Stoddard.
The youngest of eight, Vivian grew up on her parents’ farm in East Machias, graduating from Washington Academy. She fondly recalled her childhood, living with all those brothers, helping her Papa around the farm and cooking with her Mama to feed the family for their large Sunday gatherings. The wisdom and kindness of her parents were woven into her stories, from offering a meal to those passing through to helping where there was a need. Her protective older siblings often played into stories from her youth, with her disgusted at the time but amused later in the telling.
Vivian learned how to cook from her mother, taking great delight into her 90s to cook for family and friends. Recipes were rare, for she usually would concoct a dish from memory with whatever was on hand, recounting times with her mother in their kitchen and what her father would provide from the farm. That they never went hungry was a source of pride, with memories of a well-stocked pantry and root cellar full of vegetables and crocks of preserved foods.
One of Vivian’s thwarted adventures was the time she and one of her brothers tried to sneak off for a ride in an airplane, only to be stopped at the field by her mother before she could take to the skies.
As the beloved wife of Elmer Johnson, she did travel with her husband, whom she married on January 14, 1939. The couple became known for packing a picnic lunch and setting off to trek about the state, first with their daughters, Maryellen and Janice, and then with their grandchildren whenever they could. In their later years of marriage, Vivian and Elmer spent several winters in Florida — with Vivian driving them there and back — taking jaunts around that state and visiting Disney World, much to Elmer’s delight.
Vivian held a number of jobs over the years and was involved in local, women’s and church groups. With Elmer on the road as a telephone lineman, she tended to the house and was well-known for her cooking, her inviting yard and gardens, and her regular redecorating of the house with a new coat of paint here and a new layer of wallpaper there. After Elmer died in January 1991, she decided she wanted to work again and got a couple of jobs during her senior years that brought her much pleasure: as a greeter at McDonald’s and as a waitress at Joyce’s Restaurant in Machias.
Vivian loved the Lord and particularly enjoyed singing traditional hymns. She was a longtime member of Machias Valley Baptist Church.
Her favorite holiday was Christmas, which she celebrated by decorating the house until it glowed with warmth from lights and decorations in every room. Holiday meals were crowded affairs in her tiny house when the grandchildren were young, for there were never enough beds when everyone came home.
Vivian was pre-deceased by her husband, Elmer R. Johnson, in 1991; her daughter, Janice J. Pineo, in February 2018; her parents; and her brothers, Donald, Carl, Clayton, Lawrence, Harold, Irving and Gordon. She is survived by her daughter, Maryellen Johnson, of Machias; her son-in-law, Dale G. Pineo Sr., of Hudson; her grandchildren, Dale Jr. of Glenburn, Matthew of California, Janine and Faith of Hudson; nieces and nephews; several great-grandchildren; and numerous dear friends. Graveside services, officiated by longtime friend John Sprague, will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at Jacksonville Cemetery in East Machias. A time of remembrance and fellowship will follow at Machias Valley Baptist Church. Arrangements by McClure Family Funeral Services.

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