San Luis Obispo Friends of the Library

Supporting the SLO Library, its community and the SLO Community

In Memoriam – Marjory Johnson

Marjory (Foncannon) Johnson, 91, passed away Friday March 15, 2013, at her home in San Luis Obispo.   Marjory was born in Ashland, Kan., attended Oklahoma College for Women in Chickasha, Okla., and graduated with a degree in English in 1943.

Marjory grew up in libraries, where she shelved books after school and then professionally started as a cataloger at Washington State College Library.   After her move to San Luis Obispo in 1950, she worked for 36 years with the San Luis Obispo City/County Library. She had been the Assistant Library Director for the last 17 years.

Of special significance to the SLO Friends of the Library is the fact that Marjory organized the first of our Annual Book Sales in 1979.  She and her husband, Richard, arranged for the sorting and storage of the books in a warehouse on Kansas Avenue.  Marjory started the tradition of having a recess  – juice and cookies – for the volunteer workers at the warehouse which is continued and observed by today’s Warehouse Gang.  Her idea for the Book Sale, her leadership and their subsequent hard work have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars being raised by the Friends.  Both of them continued to work at the Book Sale until 2006.  Richard used to say that Marjory was a volunteer but that he had been drafted.

During World War II, she was Associate Librarian at Borden General Army Hospital in Chickasha, where she met her future husband, Richard Johnson. They were married December 1, 1945, in the Post Chapel.

Marjory was a tireless community volunteer, active in the American Association of University Women, League of Women Voters, American Field Service, docent at the City/County Historical Society, Cal Poly Women’s Club and the United Methodist Church.

Marjory is survived by her husband of 67 years, Richard; daughter Kay Lewis (Clark); son, Ray Johnson (Linda Elliott); and grandchildren Amy and Matthew Lewis.

A family graveside service was held at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 7, 2013, at the United Methodist Church, 1515 Fredericks St. in San Luis Obispo.