OBITUARY

Patricia "Pat" Ann Bumgarner Johnson

November 26, 1942March 22, 2020

Pat passed peacefully with her children at her side after a long and hard-fought battle with breast cancer. Pat was born on Thanksgiving Day in Great Falls, Montana, the only child of Elmer Bumgarner and Kathryn (Whitford) Bumgarner. She was raised on the family ranch in Belt, MT and lived her early years as a true Montana farm girl, riding her horse to a small grade school where her aunt served as her teacher. She inherited her family ranch and, despite the distance, her Big Sky roots ran deep and her ties to Belt remained a lifelong passion. In her final days she expressed optimism that her winter barley harvest would be a strong one.

Pat graduated from Belt Valley High School in 1960 and attended the University of Montana in Missoula, where she was a proud member of Delta Gamma sorority and where she met her husband Neil Johnson. Pat and Neil were married in 1964 and moved to Tigard, OR, where Neil entered the workforce as a marketing representative with IBM. In her youthful years, Pat modeled the latest women’s fashion for print, catalog, and occasional runway shows. It was common for her kids to open a Sunday edition of the Oregonian and find a full page photo of their mom posing in the latest 60’s style-of-the-season.

Pat’s children were born in Portland. Michael was born in 1965, Kristin in 1968, and Jeremy in 1971. She raised them with an appreciation for learning, good books, and respect for others but also gave them the freedom to roam and find their own way in life. She was a smart, confident and independent woman, who was quick to laugh, quicker with a quip and had an astute, dry sense of humor. She enjoyed sharing memories of her childhood, and stories of her parent’s funny and kind sensibilities always brought a smile to her face upon retelling.

Career advances took our family to Billings, MT in 1972, Mission Viejo, CA in 1974 and Lakewood, WA in 1976. She was committed to the efforts of the March of Dimes, and held leadership positions with the charity in each city she lived in. In Lakewood, Pat worked at a specialty retail store selling kitchenware and gifts. When that store closed, Pat took a bold leap and opened her own store, À La Carte, in the Lakewood Town Center. Her store became a social gathering spot for those in the South Sound looking for items that, familiar now, were uncommon back in the 1980’s; high-end espresso makers, pasta machines, ice cream makers, flatware, beautiful home goods and clever gifts. Here, she honed her visual merchandising talents which she would later use working part time at Nordstrom, and in her role as merchandiser for the Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, a position which gave her the great pleasure of returning to Montana a few times annually.

Pat and Neil moved to West Seattle in 1990 to enable Neil a shorter commute to downtown Seattle. Neil passed in 2004, and Pat eventually returned to Lakewood in 2012, drawn back to a slower pace and many warm friendships, especially those among her longstanding book club members. With her friends, she was fond of discovering a new restaurant, sharing a glass of wine, a cup of coffee, a long phone call or a review of the latest book she’d read. She settled into a lovely lakeside home at the Tacoma Golf & Country Club, where her exquisite taste and style shone brightly. She remained very happy in Lakewood until the end. Pat is survived by her son Michael (Melissa Bassett), her daughter Kristin Babbs and her son Jeremy (Nikala), plus three grandchildren: Maren Johnson (21), Celia Babbs (17), and Bjorn Johnson (15). Her family would like to thank the team at Swedish Hospital for their efforts. She fought cancer with grace and courage. She and Neil will be interred together in the Bumgarner family plot at Highland Cemetery in Great Falls.

A celebration of Pat’s life will be scheduled at Meadowlark Country Club in Great Falls, and at the Tacoma Golf & Country Club in Lakewood after the current health crisis is resolved.

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Patricia "Pat" Ann Bumgarner Johnson

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