ELK RIVER — Marlys Johnson, age 92, passed away on July 31, 2018, at Guardian Angels Care Center in Elk River, Minnesota.
Marlys Jane Eidem was born February 5, 1926 in rural Osseo, Minnesota, to Archie Delevan Eidem and Anna Rosina Sachs Eidem. She grew up on the family farm. She graduated in 1944 from Anoka High School and moved to Minneapolis to attend Minneapolis Business College, where she earned a degree in Accounting.
On November 22, 1947, she married Robert Arthur Johnson of Champlin, Minnesota. Within a few years they moved to Fairfax, in the southern part of the state, where they opened “Bob’s Café” and Marlys became known for her homemade pies. Bob was also playing semi-pro baseball in the Western Minny League at the time. In 1954 they moved to New Ulm where Bob worked for Nicklasson Athletics and in 1957 Marlys began working in an accounting office. The following year they established their own public accounting business where they worked together for 48 years. Marlys was an active member of the Minnesota Association of Public Accountants, and other professional and service organizations including the New Ulm Kiwanis Club. She and Bob were members of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and served as its treasurers for many years.
Marlys was an active Girl Scout leader in New Ulm, with a troop that included her two daughters. The troop undertook a wide range of activities, but the girls’ most vivid memories involve four epic bus trips to Washington, DC, where Marlys and her co-leaders skillfully guided their experience of the nation’s capitol.
Marlys enjoyed traveling and was always eager to see new places and meet new people. Her destinations included Alaska, Hawaii, and many other states as well as Scandinavia and other parts of Europe. She explored her family’s history and discovered some Irish ancestors, a fact that delighted her and led to a memorable trip around Ireland with Bob and the Wendinger Brothers’ tour company. She inspired many young people to follow their curiosity about the world through travel.
After Bob’s passing in 2006, Marlys moved to Elk River, Minnesota, near her daughter Virginia’s home. She was a member of Central Lutheran Church and served as a volunteer with the Guardian Angels organization that provides housing and other support to senior citizens. Her move to Elk River also brought her closer to her parents’ and grandparents’ farms. She inherited part of the property, donated some of it for public access, and in 1979 it opened as the Eidem Homestead Brooklyn Park Historical Farm.
Marlys was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Tyrus Eidem. She is survived by daughters Virginia “Jini” (John) Bruns of Big Lake; Paula Johnson (Carl Fleischhauer) of Washington, DC; two grandchildren Jonathan (Lisa) Bruns of Blooming Prairie; Erin (Rory) Nebben of Monticello; and seven great grandchildren.
A memorial service will be planned for later this summer. The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to Oak Hills Living Center in New Ulm or Guardian Angels Care Center in Elk River.