Marie (Dressler)'s Story

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Marie (Dressler) Johnson, age 77, of Rochester, N.Y., died peacefully Monday afternoon, October 9, 2017, at the Sawtelle Family Hospice House in Reading, with her loving family and friends by her side.

Born in Orlando, Fla. on January 1,1940, she was the daughter of the late Cecil L. and Mabel (Choitz) Dressler. In her early childhood, she grew up traveling with the carnival along the East Coast, where her parents ran a popcorn and french fry stand. Her family eventually settled in Merrimac and established a drive-up hamburger stand, called “Cy’s 5X5” along route 110. She was a graduate of the former Merrimac High School, Class of 1957. She attended Colorado Womens College and BU, graduating with a History and Government degree from BU in 1961. Through the UCC church, she spent a year in Germany helping the mentally disabled. Her time in Germany had a profound impact on her and it was here that she realized she wanted to become a minister. She went to Andover Newton Theology School. She became an ordained UCC minister and worked as a pastoral counselor in Rochester, NY and Claremont, CA. She worked her way up to become the Director of the prestigious Clinebell Institute in Claremont, Calif.

Her love for her family and friends were at the core of her being. So was her dedication to her career and helping people. She was gentle, sweet and down to earth. She was incredibly strong at the same time. She was highly intelligent and had a innate ability to understand people. She was a true feminist. She was a very spiritual person and possessed great wisdom. She passed on her wisdom and kindness to her children, grandchildren and everyone she met. She became more extroverted and quite silly in her later years. She claims she got this sense of humor from her father, CY. She enjoyed philosophical, political and historical conversations, walks in nature collecting rocks and acorns in the woods and shells on the beach. She enjoyed walking her dog, Hazel, reading mystery and spy novels, watching Sci-fi movies, PBS Masterpiece Theater, Dr. Who and Sherlock Holmes. She loved avocados and pistachio, coffee and chocolate chip ice cream. Spending time with her grandchildren was her most favorite enjoyment of all. She was very proud that her youngest grandchild, Marie, was named after her.

She leaves a lifetime of special memories to her son, Erik Johnson of Rochester, N.Y.; her daughter, Gretchen Aliabadi and husband, Amir of Issaquah, Wash. and her daughter, Helena Johnson and wife, Stephanie Balaouras of Reading; her grandchildren, Kathleen, Parker, Ben, Jake and Marie; her sister, LeAnn Poesse and husband Rolf of Ft. Myers, Fla.; her nephew, Kurt Bertram; her nieces, Tracy Waldron, Kelli Bertram-Gerhard, and Juli Bertram, along with extended family members, colleagues, and dear friends.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 1 p.m., at the Main Street Congregational Church, 145 Main Street, Amesbury, followed by burial in Locust Grove Cemetery, Merrimac. By request of the family, there will be no visiting hours. Donations in her memory may be made to The Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org) or Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (crohnscolitisfoundation.org). Arrangements are by Paul C. Rogers Family Funeral Home, 36 West Main Street, Merrimac.
Published on  October 11, 2017
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