Monday, September 27, 2021


Marilyn Hughes Johnson


Marilyn Hughes Johnson, a long-time Madison resident, passed away on May 28 at the age of 84. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 1, 1936, she was the daughter of Edna Hamilton Henry and Edward Conway Hughes, Jr. Marilyn grew up in Summit, New Jersey, graduating from Summit High School in 1954, earning a bachelor of arts in political science in 1958 from Swarthmore College and a master of arts in community psychology from the University of New Haven in 1977.

After moving to Geneva, New York, Marilyn was active in the League of Women Voters, and served as president of the local chapter. Marilyn believed in an informed citizenship and advocated for women’s rights and opportunities. While remaining active in the league after moving to Connecticut in 1972, she was also a member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and served as AAUW’s local legislative chairwoman and Connecticut State Division historian. From 1975 to 1981, Marilyn was administrative planner/coordinator for five Connecticut regional human service agencies, also serving as interim project director for the Alcohol Consortium of Greater New Haven, undertaking planning projects with the South Central Regional Mental Health Board, and an administrative role with the State Board of Mental Health. Marilyn then worked at Wesleyan University for several years assisting the director of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program in producing course catalogs and program materials.

In the mid-1980s, Marilyn was a proofreader at a pre-press graphics company, launching a 40-year career as a freelance copy editor and researcher. An archivist at heart, she enjoyed the archaeological aspects of each project she pursued. Marilyn was impeccable with her red pen, improving the works of many an author, organization, or friend. Her copyediting was far-reaching, putting her on mastheads for publications including Pfizer’s Pharmacist Entrepreneur, Ulbrich Stainless Steel’s Quarterly Newsletter, and the Yale School of Public Health Magazine. She edited books on diabetes, phobias, juvenile delinquency, Long Island Sound, Alzheimer’s disease, travel, and a children’s book. Marilyn also edited for the Madison Historical Society, private clients, and her friends whenever in need of a thorough proofread.

In Madison, Marilyn was a 49-year member of the First Congregational Church (FCC), serving as FCC historian from 1994 to 1997, and on the Membership, Lay Caring, and Memorial Garden committees. She also worked to televise worship services to the public and on the Witness Stones Project. Many remember Marilyn working at Two Ems, Inc., for more than 30 years in various roles starting as a consultant and writing a column in Two Ems’ AMIE magazine, and as advertising rep, promotional writer, behind the counter, or creating window displays.

Believing in community activism, Marilyn served on many local boards, including local and regional cable television, community alcohol, mental health, volunteer services, and her condominium association. She was never shy in writing letters to the editor on various issues.

Marilyn loved the Connecticut shoreline, especially Madison’s beaches where she spent many days with a pen and cup of coffee proofreading her latest job or doing a New York Times crossword puzzle while enjoying Long Island Sound. She cherished her many friends, believing true friendship is a priceless treasure. Her quick wit and penchant for puns were legendary. Marilyn also enjoyed playing bridge, tennis and piano, visiting museums, libraries and the theatre, collecting sea glass, and the companionship of many beloved family cats over the years.

Marilyn is survived by daughters Kathryn Tracy and Alison Johnson (Justus Addiss), brother Edward C. Hughes III (Carol), niece Susan Frankenberger (Paul), and nephew Donald Stebbins II (Jenny). She was predeceased by her sister Gweneth Stebbins.

Visiting hours are from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 24, at the Madison Beach Hotel, 94 West Wharf Road, Madison, with a Celebration of Life Service at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 26, at the First Congregational Church, 26 Meetinghouse Lane, Madison. Burial will be private in the FCC Memorial Garden. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Marilyn’s name to the Scranton Library, 801 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT 06443 ( or Valley Shore Animal Welfare League, 647 Horse Hill Road, Westbrook, CT (

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