Services to honor and celebrate the life of Maree Johnsen will be 2:00 p.m. Friday, March 6, 2020 in the Chapel at Memorial Park Cemetery, Tulsa. Maree passed away on Sunday, March 1, 2020 in Tulsa. She was 98.
Born July 3, 1921, in Caddo County, Oklahoma, I was the daughter of Ruth C. and Dennis L. Bales. Raised and educated in Oklahoma and Texas, my father was in the construction business and our family moved often.
On June 24, 1948, I was married to Harry C. Johnsen in Oklahoma City. He preceded me in death on June 29, 1998—four days after our 50th wedding anniversary.
I spent most of my working life assisting in dental offices and was in the first class of Certified Dental Assistants in Oklahoma. I worked for many dentists, finding employment each time we moved. My family lived in many places, as Harry worked as a seismographer in the exploration and production department of Phillips Petroleum Company. He remained employed by Phillips for 42 years and throughout our lives we would go out of our way to buy gas only at Philips 66 filling stations and could be caught on occasion giving any Phillips sign a salute.
Always involved with volunteer work, I found my niche at the Chamber of Commerce and, in 1980, accepted a job as Executive Vice President of the Borger, Texas Chamber. During the six years I was employed there, I served as President of the Panhandle Association of Chamber Executives, Chamber of Commerce Executives of West Texas, and was on the board of the Texas Chamber of Commerce. I was also an Honorary Life Member of the Texas Industrial Development Association, served as Past President of the Seismograph Sister’s Society, was a member of the Women’s Division of the Borger Chamber of Commerce, Professional Engineers’ Wives, and Newcomers Clubs in Bartlesville, OK, Big Spring, TX, and Borger, TX. I was a sponsor of the Cactus Chapter of the Jane Phillips Sorority and a long-time member of the First Christian Church.
Harry and I shared a fascinating, exciting, and, at times, challenging life. We had the best of so many things. We shared the best of Phillips Petroleum Company. In our “doodlebug“ days, we often moved with everything we had loaded in our big Buick Roadmaster, except for my ironing board and Roy’s bicycle, which Harry had tied to the back of the recording truck he drove. We lived in company “Spartan Manor” trailers, “shotgun duplexes,” and sometimes in “Tourist Courts” (there is a real difference between tourist courts and motels)!!!
In those days, the crewmembers became family to Harry and me, and we always kept in touch with many of the old “doodlebuggers.” Living this way taught our family to settle our own problems and to adapt to any situation. We also had the best of Bartlesville and the era of Boots Adams, when the great spirit of camaraderie made us feel like a big part of the corporate family in the land and geological department of Phillips. We were there for all the big parties in the Adams Building and attended the last of the big service award celebrations on Harry’s 25th anniversary with Phillips.
We also had the best of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. I was very proud of Harry and all the good work he did as he served the Elks in many ways. He served in the Bartlesville Lodge, in several offices, including as President of the 1967 Oklahoma Elks Association and the Centennial year of the Elks. I was proud to be the first lady of Elkdon and was given the name of “Ladybird” because Lyndon Johnson was President at the time. Harry was a National Ritual Judge for many years, and we traveled to many states during that time. He was an Honorary Life Member of the Bartlesville Elks Lodge and an Honorary Life Member of the Bartlesville Masonic Lodge and York Rite.
We also had the best of the Shriners, where Harry was a member of the Al Amin Temple of Corpus Christi and served as a First Lieutenant Commander of the Legion of Honor.
We had the best of Borger, Texas, and all the wonderful friendships and activities of that special town including the Borger Country Club and Fantasia Dance Club. In Borger, I spent several very happy and productive years at Dr. Ron Whittington’s dental office. I was his first assistant, and we made a great team. He became much like a son to me.
The final segment of our lives together came when both Harry and I retired and enjoyed many wonderful trips and cruises and fun-filled winters in a condominium on South Padre Island. We spent about 12 weeks through the years, at different times, on the Hawaiian Islands and both loved Hawaii, but South Padre Island was our paradise for ten years in the winter.
When Harry’s health failed, we came to Tulsa to be closer to our kids (for the first time living near them) and found a very comfortable home in the Crown Chase Apartments. Again, we were blessed with wonderful friends and the love and support received from family and friends made the final days easier. That love and support, and all the lovely memories, sustained me during the sad, lonely days after Harry passed away. For that, I was eternally grateful.
I am survived by my son, Roy Johnsen and his wife Barbara. My grandchildren Dr. Gregory Johnsen , his wife Dr. Debra, and their children Ryan (April), Laura Bayer (Jake), Alyssa, Alaina, and Aleah; Ann Johnsen and her children Kathleen Nash (Tracy), Lee Ann, Jerri, and Hayden; Kristin Calvert, her husband John, and their children Jack Phillips (Corey) and Matthew; Darby Johnsen and her husband Nate; Marcy Ayers, her husband Tim, and their children Carly, Dorothea, Luke, Beatrice, and Adelaide; Lee Wallace, his wife Chelsea, and their children J.T., Zia, and Autumn, and Jessica Wallace. My sister Denny Hladik and husband Don; and my brothers Dink Bales and Jerry Bales and his wife Jody. I am also survived by numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews and many faithful friends.
The years that I lived alone were bittersweet without Harry. I kept busy spending fun times with my family and following their pursuits and special events. I traveled across the world with my grandchildren and my sister, sharing a special trip or adventure with each.
I had a marvelous life. It was full and meaningful. I had good parents who taught me to be responsible and to understand the rewards of doing good work and deeds, as well as how to appreciate the many blessings received. I had a good husband who loved me and provided well for our family and me. I had a good son who made us proud and gave us good grandchildren who were always faithful, staying in touch and remaining a great source of strength and encouragement when I needed it.
My siblings were always near and dear to me, and we shared so much. I was so very thankful for the many friends whose lives touched mine and made my life such a joyful experience. It was a great trip, and I would like to acknowledge that each of you and Almighty God helped to make it happen.
I leave you with love and peace,
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