Leonard Carl Johnson

4/18/1954 - 4/24/2024


Leonard Carl Johnson passed away in Seattle, Washington, on April 24th at 70 years old.

Leonard grew up on Marrowstone Island. Living on a rural island meant a childhood of summer swims in the bay, fishing for perch off the dock, and walking to the Nordland Store for groceries and an ice cream treat with younger siblings, Lawrence and Lisa.

Leonard loved sailing, and when he was 12 years old he bought his first boat, a 10 ft. Sea Scout he named “My Own.” He gained confidence in maneuvering the sailboat and in later years bought a San Juan 21, proudly named “Red Boat,” to explore Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.

The Johnson Family’s clam and oyster business was an integral part of Leonard's childhood and life-long entrepreneurial spirit. He was proud of nailing wooden boxes to ship the seafood. Leonard greatly enjoyed the weekly ferry trips to Seattle with his parents delivering shellfish. Leonard graduated from Chimacum School in 1972, then went on to Trinity Western and Seattle Pacific University before returning to live on Marrowstone and work for the family businesses, including Carl H. Johnson Clam and Oyster and Carl’s Building Supply.

Travel was an important part of Leonard’s life. He first flew to Asia in his mid twenties with his brother and had a truly wonderful experience exploring Taiwan. In his late twenties, Leonard headed back to Asia for a 300-mile trek around the Annapurna circuit in Nepal. The pictures that he took, the people that he encountered, and the scenery that he enjoyed gave him a lifetime of memories.

Leonard married Betsy Snyder in 1987. Together they raised their children Allie and Spencer with a sense of fun and adventure. Being a father brought Leonard a tremendous amount of joy and contentment. “Papa Bear,” as he was affectionately called, immediately embraced parenting tasks. He made bear pancake breakfasts, constructed impressive swing sets, and taught Allie and Spencer the Johnny Horton ballads that he sang as a child.

After a stint at Thomas Building Center and Willow Creek Windows, Leonard followed his passion of cooking seafood for people and started Mystery Bay Coastal Cuisine. He spent many wonderful years cooking clams, oysters, salmon sandwiches, and seafood chowder to customers from all over the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, he joined the Seattle farmers market scene and a decade later Allie and Spencer officially took over the company. Today, Spencer and his wife Shelby are proudly running the company and serving Leonard-inspired chowder and salmon sandwiches.

Leonard was fond of symphonies, eating out, National Public Radio, shipwreck books, hiking, raw oysters, double tall lattes, and any unique piece of driftwood. He loved a good gathering of people where he could cook, laugh, and relax in the outdoors.

Leonard will be dearly missed by Betsy, Allie, Spencer, and his many friends and family. His kind, adventurous, fun loving spirit leaves an enduring and forever mark.

We will always miss you, Papa Bear.

Leonard is survived by Betsy Snyder Johnson, daughter Allie Johnson, son Spencer Johnson (Shelby), sister Lynne Sweeney (Mike), brother Lawrence Johnson (Lori), sister Lisa Johnson Burkhard (Ray), brother Jake Johnson (Kristen), many nieces, nephews, and cousins.


“And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, Bear you on the breath of dawn, Make you to shine like the sun, And hold you in the palm of His hand.”

“On Eagle’s Wings,” based on Psalm 91