Beth Johnson Morrissey, 93, of Baker City, Oregon, passed away on September 21, 2021, at Ashley Manor, Baker City, Oregon.
Lyla “Beth” was born on August 16, 1928, in Superior, Nebraska to Ceril Newton Calhoon and Margaret Rachel Maxey. The attending physician was her maternal grandfather, Dr. Frederick Wasco Maxey. Beth graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1946 and was married to Portland fireman, Kenneth Elsworth Johnson on November 8, 1946. Together they raised four children in the Portland area: Eric, Paul, Ronn and Betty. They were married for 24 years.
After their divorce, Beth worked as a legal secretary in a prestigious downtown law firm. In Fall of 1970, Beth was swept off her feet by a dashing young rancher, Patrick Morrissey, who was traveling to the Willamette Valley frequently for business related to his work with the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. They were married on February 6, 1971 and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year.
After relocating to their ranch house in Keating, Beth took a job with Western Bank, eventually achieving the position of Loan Officer, a rare feat for women in the 70’s. She loved the work and the people she met through the bank. Beth retired from Western Bank in 1979 to work full-time with Patrick on the quickly expanding Steward and Morrissey Ranch.
Beth and Patrick worked together on community projects as well. Together they helped launch the Baker Family YMCA, heading up several sustaining campaigns in the early years and were instrumental in managing a successful campaign in 1984 which raised funding to build the Sam-O-Swim Center.
Beth was a very active member of the Baker City Nazarene Church. She taught Sunday School, played the piano and sang in the church choir for many years. She loved ranch life, and enjoyed gardening, playing chess and challenging her wits with a good crossword puzzle. However, she saved her best energies for the cherished roles of mom and grandma.
Survivors include her husband, Patrick Morrissey of Baker City; a brother, Alan Dee Calhoon (Kathy) of Salem, Oregon; son, Eric Johnson (Joy) of Riverton, Utah; son, Paul Johnson (Nancy) of Baker City, Oregon; son, Ronn Johnson of Brookings, Oregon; daughter, Betty Palmer (Rob) of Baker City, Oregon; stepson, Mike Morrissey (Janie) of Baker City, Oregon; stepdaughter, Sara Lee Seaman of Bellingham, Washington; 14 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, along with many beloved nieces and nephews.
Beth was preceded in death by her parents Margaret and Ceril Calhoon; and brothers James Frederick, Richard Ross and Jerry Joe.
A Memorial service will be held on October 23, 2021, at 11:00 a.m., at the Baker City Church of the Nazarene. Pastor Lennie Spooner will be officiating the service. The service will also be livestreamed by the Baker City Church of the Nazarene.
Please visit the Gray’s West Website for more details.
Memorial contributions may be made to the YMCA Youth Scholarship program through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, Oregon 97814.
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