Mary Jane Johnson was born in October 1938 in Independence, Kansas, to Jack and Myrtle Patton. She moved to Laramie in 1949, where Jack took a job in the lumber business and became a homebuilder. Mary Jane grew up riding horses around Laramie and loved helping out on a friend’s sheep ranch. She graduated from Cheyenne High School in 1956 but remained loyal to her class at Laramie High School. She married Donald Johnson in 1956 and had two children, Tim and Jacklyn. She attended the University of Wyoming, then was a partner in the homebuilding business and owned The Still liquor store and The First Tree gift shop. Mary Jane was active in the Laramie Chamber of Commerce and helped bring the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall to Laramie. After retiring, she returned to her love of riding horses and became an accomplished cutter, competing in the Western National Cutting Horse Show in Ogden, Utah.
Mary Jane moved to Gallatin Gateway, Montana, in 1997. When she was not on horseback in the mountains, Mary Jane was active in the Montana Winter Fair, Montana State University’s Cowboys & Candlelight event for the rodeo team and the Madison Gallatin County Cattle Woman’s Association. Due to declining health, she spent her final three years in Helena, Montana, living at Touchmark with her loyal Yorkshire terrier, Sassy.
Mary Jane is survived by companion Jerry McConnell, of Laramie; son Tim and Sara Johnson, of Helena, Montana; daughter Jacklyn and Scot Dowdy, of Fort Collins, Colorado; grandsons, Taylor Johnson and Deirdre Coe, of Spokane Valley, Washington, Thomas and Erica Johnson, of Panama City, Florida, and Kirk Dowdy and Ryan Dowdy, of Fort Collins, Colorado; and great-granddaughter Riley Melinda Johnson, of Panama City, Florida.
Memorials in honor of Mary Jane are suggested to the Cathedral Home for Children at www.cathedralhome.org/donate.html or 4989 N. Third St., Laramie, WY 82072 or to Hospice of St. Peter’s Health, c/o St. Peter’s Health, 2475 Broadway, Helena, MT 59601.
Services are planned for late spring in Laramie and will be announced when arrangements are complete. Go to www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Mary Jane.