Marlene Esther Crosby, a fifth-generation islander, passed away peacefully in the early hours of May 26, 2020 at the age of 87. She was born on December 5, 1932 at the home of .her grandmother, Esther Dougherty, on the west side of San Juan Island.
She was the middle .child .and only daughter of Andrew Julius and Edna Gertrude (Dougherty) Johnson. She grew up on their 200-acre family farm overlooking False Bay with her parents, older brother Carl and younger brother, Ed. A true farmer’s daughter, she helped out with the chores and farm animals and never forgot her roots. In the early days, her dad farmed with a team of horses which she especially loved.
She graduated in 1951 from Friday Harbor High School and for two years, was employed in the office of the Port of Embarkation in Seattle. Her .heart never left the farm and she often remarked how the blow of the train whistle in the city made her homesick for the sound of the ferry leaving the dock in Friday Harbor. She traveled home whenever she could to be with her family on the farm and on one weekend, her brother Carl introduced her to his friend, Herbert (Babe) Crosby, a commercial fisherman from Gig Harbor. They began dating and on June 19, 1954, Marlene and Babe were married in Friday Harbor at the home of her aunt and uncle, John & Dorothy Lawson. Together, they had one daughter, Elisabeth Ann (Beth) and in 1964, they moved into the home they built on University Road, at the edge of town. In addition to .being a homemaker, Marlene worked for San Juan County Bank/Key Bank and Babe was employed by the University of Washington Friday Harbor Labs. They grew an extensive vegetable garden, apples, berries and raised ducks and chickens.
Babe passed away in 1987 and Marlene continued to live in their same house for over 55 years, working tirelessly in her yard and garden. She also grew, many beautiful flowers, especially begonias and dahlias. She was extremely self-sufficient and canned her own fruit, vegetables, and salmon. She enjoyed cooking and for many years, helped out with the annual Thanksgiving community dinner. She was a member of the Women’s Legion Auxiliary and served as secretary for the Pioneer Picnic. She enjoyed beach combing and loved walking the island beaches. She always felt a special bond with the south end of the island and the site of the old homeplace.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Julius and Edna Johnson, husband Herbert Kenneth (Babe) Crosby, stepson Kenny Crosby and brothers Carlton Julius and Edward Andrew Johnson.
Marlene is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Beth and Mike Wilks, granddaughter Jenna (Kasey) Anderson, great—grandson Cody Anderson; sister-in-law Joan Johnson, all of Friday Harbor; and sister-in-law Treasa Johnson of Belgrade, Montana, as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and very dear friends.
At her request there will be no services. Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Onsite Crematory of Anacortes and the San Juan Islands. To share memories of Marlene, please sign the online guestbook at https://www.evanschapel.com/obits.