Marjorie's Obituary

Madison - Marjorie Kaun Johnson, age 92, died of a stroke on June 26. Marjorie was born on May 17, 1920, in Ottawa, Illinois, a child of Walter V. and Mildred E. Kaun. Her early education was in Chicago and Hammond, Indiana schools. She attended Antioch College, where she met her husband, David B. Johnson. They were married in 1941. After service as Ensign in the Waves, she obtained a BA degree from the University of Cincinnati. They lived in Badger Village and Alexandria, Virginia, for several years before moving to Madison in 1957 where David had been appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics of the University of Wisconsin.

She served as home secretary for Congressman Robert Kastenmeier from 1964 to 1968. After returning from a year in Singapore she was employed by the Center for Development, a Masters degree program for students from developing countries. In 1978 she became Secretary of the Center. In 1979 Chancellor Irving Shain appointed her as coordinator of the Visiting Chinese Scholar Program. She performed that function at the Center for Development until she retired in 1989.

Marjorie had many enthusiasms. She loved studying the Chinese language, and she traveled widely throughout the world. She was an ardent collector of rocks and a resourceful and inventive cook. She enjoyed tennis, as a player in her younger years, and as a spectator when she was older.

She is survived by her husband, David B. Johnson, and two children, Timothy E. Johnson of Burlington, Vermont, and Deborah D. Durkee of Madison, and a sister, Ruth Gates of Palo Alto, California. A third child, David Demcey Johnson, died in 2007. She leaves six grandchildren and great great grandchild.

The Johnson family plans to have a private memorial ceremony for Marjorie later in the summer.

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Memories of Marjorie

Sonny Jose
Jul 27, 2012

My sympathies and prayers to Professor Dave and the Johnson Family.

Though late in coming, I just meant to "eternally" express my sincerest gratitude to Marj and Professor Dave for their kind generosity and blessings for having given me a rare change to attend UW-Madison. They were a God sent couple who paved the way for a life-turning event for me. For this I shall forever be thankful and indebted.

Marj (and Professor Dave as well) was not only a great boss and "sponsor" at the Center for Development in the mid-80s, but she was also a mother and special friend to me, a foreign graduate student in the Midwest. She had been a great proponent and guiding hand during my years in Madison. And she treated me as family, especially during those the Thanksgiving Day dinners and BBQs with her and Professor Dave, those Badgers game tickets to Camp Randall Stadium, and the moral support in my entire stay in Madison. I still remember her teary eyes during my farewell lunch at the CFD, and the constant warmth of her company, and our walks from CFD to the Social Science Hall.

Marj, wherever you are, I am sure you are in God's warm embrace, and I hope this simple words of thanks would reach out to you, as I know there is another strong backer out there rooting for me in the next life!

God bless, Marj!


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