Feb. 21, 1933 — Aug. 22, 2021
Mary Johanna Oja, 88, lifelong Astoria resident, passed away at her family home on Aug. 22, 2021.
Mary was born Feb. 21, 1933, in Astoria, the youngest child of Milison and Ester Johnson Wullger. She lived her entire life in the Youngs River Valley, an area her ancestors immigrated to in the mid-1850s.
She attended the one-room Battle Creek School in Youngs River, walking to school each day. She was a 1951 graduate of Astoria High School.
After graduation, Mary worked at First National Bank and Knutsen Insurance until she began raising her family. On June 1, 1957, she married the love of her life, Robert M. Oja. He passed away on Dec. 24, 2019.
In 1975, Mary began working at Clatsop Community College, and worked there until retiring in 1995. Mary made many lasting friendships at the college. Mary also worked with Bob at their business, Columbia River Engine Co.
Mary devoted her time to her family, was an excellent cook, and no one ever went away hungry.
Mary was a Cub Scout den mother, a room mother at Lewis and Clark Consolidated School and a 4-H leader, teaching her kids the value and joy of growing your own vegetables and flowers. She also found the patience to raise numerous black Labrador retrievers and a few cats.
Her love of flowers led her to design bridal bouquets and floral creations for family and friends’ weddings, never considering it work, always fun and an honor.
A gifted artist, she enjoyed drawing, watercolors and tole painting. She took pottery classes and yoga before it was cool. She also helped family and neighbors wallpaper and paint their homes.
In 1984, Mary and Bob started Oja’s Christmas Tree Farm. She enjoyed seeing the land produce the trees, and how much joy everyone had when they’d choose their tree each year. She was involved in running the farm until her passing.
Mary is survived by her son, Bart (Mary); daughter, Mary Louise (Paul); four grandchildren, Chris Oja (Melissa), Caitlin Oja, Andrea Phillips and Eddie Phillips; great-grandsons, Sawyer and Easton Oja; as well as beloved nieces and nephews.
Her brother, David M. Wullger, sister, Carolyn Wolfgram, and daughter-in-law, Kathie Oja, preceded her in death.
Mary was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Clatsop County Historical Society and a past member of the Alpha lota sorority. She was also one of the last remaining members of the Youngs River Meadows Club.
A private graveside service is planned.
Mary’s wishes were that memorial contributions may be made to: First Presbyterian Church, 1103 Grand Ave. Astoria, OR., 97103; the Columbia River Maritime Museum, 1792 Marine Drive, Astoria, OR., 97103; or the Clatsop County Historical Society, 714 Exchange St., Astoria, OR., 97103.