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Obituary: Dr. Mary Bettina Black Johnson

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Dr. Mary Bettina Black Johnson died on December 29, 2001 after a 12-year war with breast cancer. As she did with all things in this life, Mary fought her disease fearlessly and ferociously until the end.

Mary is the daughter of Wayne L. and Bettina R. Black. She was born on March 2, 1952 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated from Skyline High School in 1970. Mary then attended the University of Utah where she received her undergraduate degree in 1974 in Physical Education. While at the University of Utah, she was a cheerleader for the "Runnin' Utes". Mary was an avid, almost rabid University of Utah fan until the day she died.

Mary married her childhood sweetheart and best friend, Carl Lowell Johnson, on July 26, 1974. Carl remained Mary's stalwart companion and gentle comforter throughout her long ordeal. She said he was perfect in every way.

Mary's greatest accomplishment and greatest joy were her young sons; B.J., and the twins, Dylan and Wyatt. Her light will live on through their smiles and laughter.

Mary taught Physical Education and Health at Mount Jordan Junior High School and at Alta High School. Mary was the cheerleading sponsor while at Alta High School and took her squads to several national cheerleading competitions.

In 1990, Mary fulfilled a life long goal by earning her Ph.D. in sports medicine and Athletic Training from the University of Utah. She was one of the first women throughout the United States to break into that previously male dominated field. She served as an athletic trainer for the University of Utah football and gymnastic teams. She also was an athletic trainer for the United States Olympic Teams in Colorado Springs, Colorado. No 300 lbs. Linebacker was any match for 5'1:, 100 lbs. Mary. Her athletes did what Mary told them to do.

Mary said her greatest professional accomplishment was her appointment as an Assistant Professor of Sports Medicine and Aesthetic Training at San Diego State University where she taught from 1989 to 1993. From 1993 until recently, she was a professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver. Mary was a demanding and compassionate educator who brought out the best in each and every student.

Mary was a member of the National Athletic Training Association and America Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance where she served on many committees, in several leadership positions, and presented numerous professional papers. She was appointed to the prestigious Editorial Board of the Journal of Athletic Training.

Mary is survived by her husband and children, her mother, Bettina Black, Carl's mother, Mae Johnson, her brothers and sisters, Jo Lee Black Heaton, James R. Black (Jo Ann), Phillip "Pete" Black (Karen Tabish), Susan Black Dunn (Tim Dunn) and Wayne Lewis Black and Carl's sister Darnell Crapo (Ron Crapo). She is also survived by numerous loving nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles. Mary was preceded in death by her father whom she idolized and adored. We can only assume they are talking "vehemently" and non-stop about politics and sports.

A celebration of Mary's life will be held on Thursday, January 3, 2002 at 2 p.m. at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary Chapel, 3401 S Highland Dr., Salt Lake City, Utah. There will be a visitation with Mary's family one hour prior to the service.

In memory of Mary, please make a donation to the Huntsman Cancer Institute (in care of the University Hospital Foundation, 50 North Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, 84132), vote for the Democratic candidate for your choice, and get annual mammograms.