The Norman Transcript
October 23, 1998
Mary Avolyn Johns, long-time Norman resident and former biology
teacher at Norman High School died Oct. 20 at Norman Regional
Hospital. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday in the
North Hallock Hall of the First Baptist Church of Norman.
Mrs. Johns was born in 1909 in Worcester, Mass. Her family moved
to Norman in 1916 when her father, Professor James C. Davis, was
appointed professor of mechanical engineering at the University
of Oklahoma. Mrs. Johns attended Worcester and Norman public
schools and graduated from Central High School in Oklahoma
City in 1927. She remembered commuting to school on the old
Inter-urban trains. She received a B.A. in public school music
from OU with a minor in voice.
The year before she graduated, she was offered a position as
grade and high school music teacher at Seminole. Her first day
there, she met her future husband, O.D. Johns, who was then
prinicpal of the elementary school. They were married the following
June in 1931. They lived in Seminole until 1959, raising two sons,
Oliver and Jim. She taught science in the public schools and sang
in the choir and taught Sunday school at the First Baptist Church.
She was a member of the Seminole Federated Music Clubs and was
active in other civic organizations.
in 1959, she returned to Norman when Dr. Johns, who had been
principal of Seminole High School and from superintendent of Seminole
City schools, was recruited as professor of education and assistant dean
of the OU College of Education. Her first day back to Norman, she
began study for her master's degree in biology. She taught biology and
science at Central Junior High in Norman from 1959 to 1966 when she
received her master of natural science degree. From 1966 until 1971, she
was the biology teacher at Norman High School. She retired in 1971 and
began with her husband, 10 years of travel in an air-stream trailer, visiting
almost every state of Mexico, Guatemala, and both coasts of Canada
and the United States. She was an avid natural scientist and birder with
a life list of over 800 birds, and an extensive collection of minerals and
fossils. She was a member of the daughters of the American Revolution,
the national and Cleveland County Audubon societies and the Ragged
Robin Garden Club of Norman, of which she was a past president.
Survivors include two sons, Oliver Davis Johns of San Francisco, Calif.;
and James Stephens Johns of Newton, Mass.; a sister-in-law, Anna
Laura Clary of Marble Falls, Texas and a daughter-in-law, Lucy Johns
of San Francisco.