Woman recognized for 47 years of volunteering at CHRISTUS Good Shepherd in Longview

Marilyn Johnson has been volunteering at Christus Good Shepherd for 47 years, most recently in the surgical waiting area.
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 4:31 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:46 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Marilyn Johnson has been volunteering at Christus Good Shepherd for 47 years, most recently in the surgical waiting area.

She’s been volunteering at the same Longview Hospital for about half her life. Now that would be impressive for someone, say, 60 years old. But, this volunteer turns 98 in two days.

“It’s not as busy as it used to be before the pandemic. When we were gone, they found a way to do it without us,” Johnson said.

As far as why she volunteers, she said, “I’ve wondered that myself. No, I enjoy it, and it gets you out of the house. Makes you get up and go. You meet people.”

Judging from her early birthday celebration, people enjoy meeting her, too. She says she’s been at it since a few years after she moved to Longview back in 1972.

“Back in the stone age,” Johnson said. She came from Chicago. “I was what we used to call ‘bookkeeper.’”

Marilyn has had nearly five decades of volunteering. “I didn’t know I was going to when I started out,” she said. She may be about ready to retire, though.

Friends she met at the hospital stood in line to talk to her and write a birthday greeting on an oversized card. She said she’s worked in the gift shop, information, and the ER.

“That’s where I was during 9/11,” Johnson said. She worked as a day captain; she said that’s pretty much a foreman, and it gave her a position of command.

“Yeah. Maybe that’s why I liked it,” Johnson said.

But, she doesn’t have a smart phone since she said, “I don’t want anything smarter than me.”

Well, choices like that, staying active and having a great sense of humor, may be what’s been keeping her going for nearly a century.

Johnson started volunteering in 1975 with the Christus Good Shepherd Auxiliary. As part of the auxiliary, Marilyn has helped the organization contribute more than $2 million to projects and renovations, and her volunteer hours equal upwards of 20 full-time employees. Her dedication has been no more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“She was the last volunteer to leave for COVID, and the first to return as soon as they were allowed to,” said Manager of Volunteer Services Alana Smalley. “She has been a cornerstone of the auxiliary in general, and it meant a lot to her. She is such a sweet spirit, and we love to see her, and to watch what she does is amazing.”

Marilyn said she’s been there longer than some of the bricks in the building.

KLTV’s Jamey Boyum talks with 97-year-old Christus Good Shepherd volunteer Marilyn Johnson who has volunteered at that hospital for 47 years.