A memorial service will be held at Coupeville United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. Friday, March 14, 2003, for Sylvia E. (Bliven) Johnson. All who knew her are welcome to come and celebrate her life. Sylvia passed away on Saturday, March 8, 2003, from complications arising from a stroke.
Sylvia was born Feb. 26, 1916, near Stella, outside of Longview, the daughter of John William and Hilda Antilla. She was the oldest of three children. She attended high school in Longview, where she graduated in 1934. She went on to attend Washington State College, graduating in 1938 with a degree in home economics. After college she began working with the Cooperative Extension Service as a home demonstration agent in Mount Vernon.
In 1942, she was honored to be among the first 450 women in America chosen to join the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. Upon completion of her training in Des Moines, Iowa, she was commissioned as a third officer, later becoming a second lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps. After the war, she married Harry Bliven of Rochester, N.Y. They had two sons, William and Raymond.
In 1958, Sylvia resumed her career with the Cooperative Extension, appointed to the position as county extension agent for Island County.
During her 22 years in the county, she was active answering questions from homemakers and farmers, and coordinating 4-H clubs throughout the county, especially each year at 4-H Camp at Cornet Bay and Island County Fair in Langley. In 1972, she was named the grand marshall of the fair. She retired in January 1981, whereupon she earned the title of county extension agent emeritus, with an equivalent grade of professor, from Washington State University.
Harry passed away in 1969, but she was not alone for very many years. In 1975, she married a pre-war friend, Arnell Johnson of Anacortes. During their retirement years living in Coupeville, they remained active in the Methodist Church, Vasa Lodge and the Grange and enjoyed traveling throughout the world. At the end of 2000, Sylvia and Arnell moved to Anacortes. Arnell passed away in March 2002.
Sylvia is survived by her two sons, William, of Sterling, Va., and Raymond, of Ridgefield, and her sister, Toini Harrison of Loma Linda, Calif. Other survivors include stepsisters, Alene Mueller of Apache Junction, Ariz., Sylvia McKee of Anacortes and their children and grandchildren.
Remembrances may be sent for scholarships to the home economics department of Washington State University, to ALS Association (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in Calabasas Hills, Calif. or to Coupeville United Methodist Church. Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel, Anacortes.