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Mildred "Raye" Raymond Johnson

January 10, 1924 - April 9, 2020

Salem - 1924-2020 ~ Raye Johnson passed away on April 9th at age 96. She was born Mildred Raymond on Jan. 10, 1924 in Manchester, England. When she was 15, England and France declared war on Germany; Manchester endured three major Blitz attacks during September 1940 to May 1941, when more than 578 tons of high explosive bombs were aimed at the city. When Mildred joined the British Royal Army she was called "Raye" by her friends; the nickname stuck. She served as a motorcycle dispatcher and a driver in the service.

It was at a dance during the war, while she was stationed in Nottingham, that she met the handsome American paratrooper, Jack Lloyd Johnson. They saw each other when military leave time overlapped, promising to marry after the war. In Brussels, Belgium on September 4, 1945, they gave their vows. Several months later Raye was able to join Jack, arriving in New York on a "war bride" ship.

Raye and Jack settled in California, but after Jack retired from law enforcement, they tried a stint at farming in Minnesota. While there, at age 51, Raye suffered a brain aneurism; the family always suspected a head injury sustained during a Blitz. The couple relocated to Santa Fe, where, determined to work her body back to health, Raye began running. She continued until her early 80's, participating in close to 200 events, 5K to marathon distance in length. She loved bike riding, and, after overcoming an earlier hesitation about swimming, completed over 50 triathlons, mostly finishing first in her age group.

Raye, preceded in death by Jack (2006), is survived by her brother, Stanley Raymond of Cumbria, England, 3 children: Kim, Lesley, & Kevin, 5 grandchildren: Rob, Tori, Tom, Heather, and Thomas, and 4 great-grandchildren: Stanley, Alice Raye, Jack, and Theodore. She will rest at the Willamette National Cemetery with Jack.

We are shaped and fashioned by what we love. Goethe.

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