Janice M. Johnson-Brandstrom, a longtime Aberdeen resident, passed away on Jan. 25, 2020, in Tumwater, Washington. She was 84.
Born April 8, 1935, Janice was the only child of Alger Johnson and Mary Filip Johnson of Aberdeen. From an early age, Janice was a bright and serious child. Her mother taught her to read prior to attending elementary school. Her father encouraged her to learn the violin at age 6. Eventually she’d play in her teens with the Grays Harbor Symphony. In 1952, Janice graduated from Weatherwax High School and enrolled at Grays Harbor College. At GHC, she discovered her love of science, specifically for chemistry. She graduated from GHC in 1954, receiving an Alumni Merit Award. Janice credited her ability to complete her degree thanks to the generosity of the Schaffer Family Scholarship, which paid her tuition in full. She then transferred to the University of Washington, and graduated in 1957, with a bachelor of science in chemistry.
After graduation, Janice found it difficult to get a job using her chemistry degree, as she was a woman in a male-dominated field. Janice began teaching math to seventh-grade boys. She later filled a vacancy at Shelton High School as a girls counselor, where she discovered a new field of interest. That led her to pursue a master’s degree in education, specializing in counseling and minoring in psychology. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1969.
A counselor at Lane Community College, she retired early to care for aging parents, returning to Grays Harbor. Janice bought the home of her dreams, filled it with books and proudly raised her cat as a Democrat. She became active in the Friends of the Library, lived a simple life and understood the importance of continuing education.
Janice bequeathed her estate to her beloved Grays Harbor College and established the Janice M. Johnson-Brandstrom Scholarship Fund. Memorial donations may be sent to the GHC Foundation, c/o: Janice M. Johnson-Brandstrom Scholarship, 1620 Edward P. Smith Dr, Aberdeen, WA ,98520. At her request, there will be no memorial service.