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Mary L. (Collins Barnum) Johnson

KSAL StaffFebruary 4, 2019

Mary L (Collins Barnum) Johnson passed away Jan 30, 2019 at Pinnacle Park Nursing and Rehabilitation with family beside her. Mary was born on Jan. 2, 1930 in Concordia, KS to the late Jim & Bertha (Ruud) Collins. She attended Country School, Dist. #44, for her first few years of grade school, then transferred to Sibley School, NW of Concordia, thru 8th grade. There were 5 students in her 8th grade graduating class. She graduated from Concordia High School in 1947, with 125 students in her graduating class. Mary then attended Kansas State University for a period of time.

Mary married Nile Barnum on Nov. 8, 1948. They moved to California soon after and stayed there about a year, then moved back to Kansas to the Height Farm (family farm of Nile’s Mom, Laura Height Barnum). In 1953 they moved to what we referred to as “the creek farm”, staying there until 1957 where they moved to the Barnum Homestead Farm North of Glasco. Mary remained there until 1974 when her marriage with Nile ended (Nile is now deceased). Mary moved to Beloit and bought a beautiful 100+ year old limestone house (pictured on the back) that she fixed up while working at Farmway Federal Credit Union. She also went back to college at Cloud County Community College in Concordia. She moved to Salina, KS in 1976, working at St. Francis Boys Home as well as Sears, until marrying Merle F. Johnson on Aug 2, 1976. At that time, she moved to Merle’s farm near Brookville and remained there as a dedicated farm wife until Merle passed in 2004. Mary loved the sunrises, sunsets and all the planes that flew over as they lived near the bombing range. She had an art studio behind her house where she continued her painting and writing. She also raised Persian Cats and always had dogs around that she loved. After Merle’s passing, she sold the farm and moved to Salina, where she remained until 2013, when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and moved to Salina Presbyterian Manor. She remained there until a fall on Jan 1, 2019 that broke her hip and never recovered.

Mary loved her family so much and was always extremely proud of all her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. She was a wonderful artist who created hundreds of paintings, winning many awards for her artwork. She also wrote poems, produced many family histories and stories. She was a member of a Creative Writing Class that she really enjoyed. She also attended OA (Overeaters Anonymous) for many years and was so dedicated to this purpose.

Mary also was dedicated at writing daily journals. Starting at age 14, she journaled every day and kept each book she wrote in, until 2017.

Survivors include her brother: Norman Collins (wife Wanda) of Phoenix, Arizona; sister: Elaine Collins, Highlands Ranch, Colorado; brother: Ted Collins (wife Nancy) of Concordia, Kansas; sons: Michael Barnum (wife Martina Priddy) of Greenville, North Carolina and Mitchell Barnum (wife Pam) of Fort Worth, Texas; daughter: Sandra Griffith (husband Rick) of Salina, Kansas; 9 Grandchildren: Collin Priddy-Barnum of Boston, Massachusetts; Ellen Kinzie (Priddy- Barnum) husband Will of Wilmington, North Carolina; Micah Barnum (wife Holly) of Hurst, Texas; Mandy Culp (Barnum), husband Jonathan of Hurst, Texas; Melody Duckworth (Barnum) husband Brian of North Richland Hills, Texas; CJ (Christopher) Sears (wife Nicole) of Shawnee, Kansas; Travis Sears (wife Katie) of McPherson, Kansas ; Zach Griffith of Manhattan, Kansas; Danyne (Haxton) Lungren of Leedey, Oklahoma; 16 Great Grandchildren: Bella Kinzie, Noble Barnum, Adler Barnum, Iris Barnum, Deacon Barnum, Lincoln Culp, Kelby Duckworth, Raley Duckworth, Jordan Sears, Jentry Sears, Jaykin Sears, Jaxton Sears, Carter Sears, Ava Sears, Vivian Sears and Gabe Sears.

She was preceded in death by: Husband: Merle F Johnson; parents: James and Bertha Collins; brother: Richard Collins; grandson: Robert Griffith; brother-in-law: Royce Pruitt

Visitation will be from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Mon. Feb 4th, with family from 5-7 pm at Carlson-Geisendorf Funeral Home, Salina. Celebration of Life Services will be Tues, Feb 5th at 2:00 p.m. at Carlson-Geisendorf Funeral Home with burial following at Brookville Cemetery.

Memorials to: Salina Rescue Mission, 1716 Summers Rd, Salina, Kansas 67401 and KJIL Christian Radio Station, PO Box 991, Meade, Kansas 67864

For more information or to send an online condolence, visit or on Facebook.

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