Marian Elaine (Johnson) Buck was born in Arcata on August 25, 1925. She died in her hometown on November 5, 2021 at the age of 96 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Marian was a lifelong resident of the Arcata/Bayside area, attending Old Canal School (on the Arcata Bottoms) and Pacific Union School, and graduating from Arcata High School in 1942. She left Humboldt County during World War II to pursue her lifelong career as a registered nurse.

While attending the three-year nursing program at Children’s Hospital School of Nursing in San Francisco, she joined the Navy Nurse Cadet Corp. The war ended before she graduated from nursing school in 1945, and her position as a cadet nurse was never activated. She returned to Humboldt County and practiced as a licensed registered nurse well into her late 80s. While raising her son, she enrolled at Humboldt State College to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.

Her service to medicine started as a floor nurse at Trinity Hospital in Arcata. She also was assigned to the ambulance team at the Arcata Naval Auxiliary Air Station (now Arcata Airport), which was built during the war to test defogging systems (FIDO: Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation) for airplane landings. Marian worked for Drs. Donald Bux, Charles Earl, Neil Watter and — for the last 20+ years of her nursing career — for Dr. Lawrence Senffner.

Marian was active in Eastern Star, serving as a Worthy Matron and Deputy Grand Matron, and she was an active member of the Registered Nurse Chapter of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO). As a lifelong member of the Arcata Presbyterian Church, she served on many church committees and boards. Marian also served on the formation committee of the Mad River Community Hospital after Trinity Hospital was sold and as president of the Arcata High School Parent-Teachers Association.

Throughout her active life, Marian enjoyed a monthly game of bridge with her friends. Bridge Club at Marian’s house always included a good meal, starched and ironed linen tablecloths and napkins.

Marian’s true passion was the vegetable and fruit garden she and her husband, Seth, nurtured at their second home in Willow Creek. Soon after the first frost, she would start planting tomato, cucumber, and melon seeds. The window in Marian and Seth’s spare bedroom at their Bayside home was filled with seedlings, which she turned gently on a daily basis. Planting and harvesting seasons were always busy times in Willow Creek; Marian and Seth did not grow just a few plants, rather they cultivated row after row of produce…all of which was harvested and prepared for winter. She was most proud of her lime pickles!

Family was always in her heart, and she loved to hear stories about her son’s, nieces’, and nephews’ adventures. She looked forward to Sunday dinners at Sally and Peter Lindke’s Arcata home and checking out Sally’s garden.

As her Parkinson’s progressed, Marian joined a new community at the Timber Ridge senior residence in McKinleyville, where she worked on complicated puzzles, attended weekly bingo games, and shared stories with her dining table friends.

Marian is survived by her son, Thomas Buck of Hawkins Bar; nieces, Sally (Levings) Lindke of Arcata (Peter Lindke), Susan Levings of San Francisco (Jeffrey Miller), Cynthia (Levings) Gill of Dixon (Roy Gill), Claudia Johnson of Eureka, Shawna (Buck) Johnson of Seattle (James Johnson), Wendy (Buck) Bennett of Martinez (Craig Bennett); great nieces and great nephews, Jennifer (Lindke) Balarie of San Pedro (Ben Balarie), Kenneth Lindke of Arcata (Melissa Reneski), Elizabeth Miller of New York City, Chope Gill of Woodland (Christy Gill), Paige Kiehn of Woodland (Matthew Kiehn), Rilie Bennett and Jerry Bennett of Martinez. She is preceded in death by her husband, Seth Buck; parents, Martin and Lorena Johnson; sister, Clarice (Johnson, Levings) Vanoncini and brother, Clyde Johnson.

A private family burial will be held at the Greenwood Cemetery in Arcata.

The family extends its sincere gratitude to the staff members at Timber Ridge McKinleyville and to Hospice of Humboldt for their exceptional care of Marian, and to the loving care by Dr. Lawrence and Ellen Senffner, and Kay Hollyman. Your acts of kindness are forever in our hearts.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Marian Buck’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.