Mary Francis Johnson was born on 12 April, 1928 in North Carolina. She moved with her family to China when she was very young and spent her childhood there. Her parents were Southern Baptist Missionaries. She returned to the US with her family and went to High School in Virginia. She then went to college at Baylor in Waco Texas and the graduate school in Richmond Virginia to study Occupational Therapy. She came to Holland with her teacher and friend Anne Bates to work as missionaries there. After a couple of years they were invited to Basel to help start the Occupational Therapy Association of Switzerland. After four years in Basel, during which time they became acquainted with Francis and Edith Schaeffer and the work of L'Abri Fellowship, they were able to buy Chalet Bellevue, the large Chalet next door to the Schaeffers in Huemoz, VD. They started a pioneering work with handicapped and particularly Cerebral Palsied children. After Anne Bates died Mary became the directress of the Home and continued that work until it closed in the mid-80s. She then worked for some years at La Castalie in the Valais, a large home for handicapped children until she retired.
In 1978 she married Ellis Potter, with whom she worked in L'Abri Fellowship until they moved in 1991 to Basel, where he was called to be the pastor of the Basel Christian Fellowship. During the 1980s Mary went many times to Poland and help start and equip the school and association of Occupational Therapy. She became an honorary member of "Friends of Children", an independent association of parents of handicapped children working precariously under communism. She continued to visit Poland until she was no longer able to travel at age 80.
After 10 years of being a pastor's wife Mary moved from Basel to Riehen, where she remained in active communications with various members of the therapeutic community around the world. Because of her deteriorating health Mary lived the last year of her life in the Dominikus Haus in Riehen, where she received excellent and loving care. She was very grateful for many visits from some of you who are here now during her time at the Domikushaus and at various hospitals before that.
Mary Potter died on March 26, 2013. She is survived by her husband Ellis Potter, a nephew Robert Dambacher and a grandnephew Joshua Dambacher.
To contact Ellis please use the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org