Rod and Marilynn Johnson of Walla Walla will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with a 2 p.m. reception today at Blue Mountain Community Church. At the request of the couple guests are asked not to bring gifts.
The Johnsons wed Dec. 8, 1961, in Portland. Marilynn's maiden name is Helm. A Feb. 14, 2011, Union-Bulletin article "Dancing keeps couple in step," was about their courtship and love of dancing.
Rod served with the U.S. Army in Korea during peace time. He later graduated from Oregon State University in wildlife management and was employed by the U.S. Forest Service. He first worked on the Fremont Forest in Bly, Ore., then transferred to the Umatilla Forest in 1970. He was a zone wildlife biologist for the Walla Walla and Pomeroy districts and was involved in the Bigfoot discovery. He retired in July 2003 from the forest service's Walla Walla District.
Rod is a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elks Lodge and Eagles Aerie. Through his longtime woodcrafting hobby, he sold many of his handmade items at craft shows in the Pacific Northwest. He created the story for the Kowalla Walla Bear. He is also a member of Friends.
Marilynn worked for the Bank of California in Portland and transferred to Seattle when Rod returned from the service. Later, as the couple moved around she worked in banks in Portland, Corvallis and Walla Walla. She then was a sales representative for a business forms company and an insurance agent. She retired in 2002.
Marilynn has been a member of Beta Sigma Phi since 1971. She enjoys her friends and the service activities that they do. She made the Kowalla Walla Bear and sold them at craft shows.
She has been an ambassador for the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce since 1993. She received the Spirit of Excellence Award in 2007 and is still active as a paper products consultant for her business, MRJ Enterprise.
Both are members of Blue Mountain Community Church.
They own and operate Walla Walla Cottage, a one-bedroom vacation rental house.
They do many things together, as well as dancing. In November, they traveled to Las Vegas and met with friends from Canada.
The Johnsons have two sons and a daughter-in-law, Mark and Julie Johnson of West Richland and Todd Johnson of Seattle; and three grandchildren, Brianna, Taylor and Grayson. Their daughter Karla died in 1970.