Crops Produce 06

Elma Marie John

November 12, 1923 ~ June 13, 2022 (age 98)

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Mom was born in Fairmont, MN on November 12, 1923, one of six children born to Alfred and Floy Michelson.  The family moved to Seattle in 1929 then to Indian Island on the Olympic Peninsula in 1933.  The United States Government needed their property for a government facility and my grandfather being a patriot and Veteran of World War I moved from Indian Island and built a home in Irondale across the bay.

Mom attended Chimacum High School and was both a cheerleader and Rhododendron Princess in the Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival.  Graduating from High School, dark clouds were beginning to appear and World War II was on the horizon.

Port Townsend was the location of Fort Worden a military training facility along with her sister facilities Fort Flagler and Fort Casey across the strait, that formed a triangle to protect Puget Sound and Seattle from hostile enemy ships.  This was a major concern after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.  After graduation mom was working for the Weather Bureau in Port Townsend and was part of the USO welcoming recruits to Fort Worden.  It was here that she met Alex Harper, a young recruit from Detroit, MI who swept her off her feet.  They were married before Dad was sent overseas to fight in France and Germany.

With the conclusion of World War II mom and dad started their married life together and moved to Spokane, WA where dad would begin school to be an agent/telegrapher for the Union Pacific Railroad.  After completion of his schooling mom and dad moved to Ayer, WA having their final child of three and completing the family.  Their next moved was to Garfield, WA where they spent many happy years raising the family, camping, fishing and swimming at Rollies’ Landing on Badger Lake on weekends and vacationing on the Olympic Peninsula during the summer.  Mom loved her bowling with the girls in Colfax, and was quite good.  She was very involved in the community, teaching Sunday School, swimming in the Garfield pool with her swim mates and numerous coffee friends and neighbors.  Unfortunately, Union Pacific closed the Garfield station and mom had to say goodbye to many friends and move back to Ayer, WA where she quickly made new friends.  In 1973, after 30 years of marriage, Alex passed away suddenly and a new phase of mom’s life began.

With all of her children grown, mom moved back to the family home in Garfield and went to work for J. E. Love Company, a farm and implement manufacturing business.  She really enjoyed those years of working and re-establishing old friendships.  It was during this time that mom met Howard John and they married in 1984.  Mom and Howard moved to Arlington, WA and Howard went to work for the Boeing Company.  In Arlington they lived on a small acreage tract with fruit trees, pasture and a blueberry patch that mom made the most incredible blueberry cobbler from.

After Howard’s retirement, mom and Howard spent more time camping and staying at mom’s condo’s when not taking care of the “farm”.  They both loved the back deck of their home, looking out on the many trees and flowers and listening to the Mariner’s game on the radio. 

Howard passed away in 2013 after a short illness and mom moved back to Spokane to the Riverview Care Center.  The staff at Riverview treated mom like their own grandmother and her care has been greatly appreciated by the family. 

Mom is survived by sons; Alex M. Harper (Kathy), Pat Harper (Kathy), daughter in law; Leri Harper, sister in law; Delores Michelson, 8 grandchildren, multiple great grandchildren and great great grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews.  Mom was preceded in death by her mom and dad, husbands; Alex and Howard; son Nick, siblings; Glenn, Harold, Peter, Floyd and Colleen.

Mom, like her dad, who lived to 97 and grandmother who lived to 105, lived a very long and healthy lifetime full of wonderful adventures and experiences.  I guess the only thing to say is, “Mom, your condo in heaven is ready for you to check in.”

You will note that no date for her passing is mentioned because those who are truly loved are never really gone.

A Private Graveside Service will be held on Saturday, June 25, 2022 at 1:00pm at Greenwood Cemetery in Chimacum, WA.  

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