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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Johnnie Cecil Hohnston

Funeral services for Johnnie Johnston, age 93 of Poplar, Mont., are at 2 p.m. on Friday, January 12, 2018 at the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Richey with Paul Sponheim officiating. Fulkerson-Stevenson Funeral Home of Sidney is entrusted with arrangements. Remembrances, condolences and pictures may be shared with the family at www.fulkersons.com

Suggested memorials to: Eastern Montana Bible Camp, Yellowstone Boys’ and Girls’ Ranch in Billings and Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Richey. 

Johnnie Johnston passed away at his home surrounded by his family on January 4, 2018. Johnnie was diagnosed with kidney cancer on November 20. 

Johnnie Cecil Johnston was born in Central City, Neb. on September 1, 1924 to Cecil and Katie Knels Johnston. At the age of five in 1929, Johnnie and his family arrived in Lambert on the immigrant train and established a home on the Retah Table area. Years later the family moved Northwest of Richey. Johnnie was needed on the family farm, so he quit school when he was a freshman.

Johnnie and Beverly (Gidley) Johnston were married on May 23, 1947, a day after Beverly graduated from High School. To this marriage, six children enhanced their lives. Johnnie and Beverly have lived north of Richey since 1949.

Johnnie served on the Grandview School Board in his early years where his four oldest children attended grade school. He wanted his children to get a good education, for 21 days during the winter of 1966 Johnnie took the four older kids on his John Deere tractor 9 miles to meet the school bus using the blade on the tractor to clear the road as he drove. After school he repeated the trip to collect his kids.

The Richland County Weed Board was very dear to Johnnie. He served on the board from 1959 to 2017. He was very active fighting the weeds. Johnnie received Weed Fighter of the Year several times and was proud of the awards. He was the oldest member in Montana. Johnnie served on the Farmers Elevator Board in Richey for many years.

Johnnie worked hard all of his life and expected the same from others. He also liked to have fun. Johnnie and Beverly enjoyed taking trips with friends and relatives. Trips were taken to Hawaii, Mexico and a Caribbean Cruise. The kids remember having fun times at Saco Hot Springs swimming when growing up. 

Johnnie saw big farm changes in his life from farming with horses to the big modern machinery. He loved swathing hay and harvest time. He also enjoyed feeding and tending to his cows or as he referred to them, his girls. They followed him like puppies and he loved that.

Johnnie never met a stranger, he considered everyone he met to be his friend. He loved visiting with everyone, often stopping them on his beloved John Deere Gator as he traveled locally. His Gator was another love, at times the back was filled with fencing supplies, feed for the cows or the spray container to spray the dreaded weeds as he drove along the country with his spurge glasses. Pheasants in the yard were always fed well during the winter months by Johnnie.

Pets were dear to Johnnie, he took in many dogs whose owners (his kids) couldn’t take care of them in town anymore. He could be seen with a dog in his pickup or Gator most of the time. His latest stray was a cat named Keven who was always getting in his way but Johnnie was always ready to pull his tail or scratch his ears in a loving way. Keven wanted to be with Johnnie in a chair or on his bed during the last couple weeks. 

Grandchildren and great-grandchildren were very important to Grandpa Johnnie and Grandpa Great, he loved their phone calls and visits. He loved to tease them and they teased right back.

Johnnie is survived by: his wife, Beverly; his children, Gary (Virginia), Larry (Connie), Connie Aasheim, Peggy (David) Vaira, Kevin (Shelly), and Kyle (Tammy);  19 grandchildren, Erin Ballard, Rob, Cory, Shane, Lori Langley, Kari Wong, Angi Candee, Heidi Vanlaningham, J.D. Aasheim, Ryan Aasheim, Jolene Geary, Jodi McWilliams, Jeff, Janel Monroe, Kacee, Meghan, Lexi, Hailey and Ben; 36 great-grandchildren and another due in March; brother, Ruben; sister, Ella Anderson; numerous nieces and nephews; numerous great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Cecil and Katie Johnston; daughter-in-law, Janet Johnston; great-grandson, Tyler Langley; son-in-law, Daniel Aasheim; brothers, Lawrence, Eugene and Dave; sisters, Marjorie Ziegler and Helen Hoffman; and half-sister, Ruth Cooper.

The family would like to extend their appreciation to everyone who visited or called while Dad was in Billings Clinic Hospital and at the farm. Thank you to all who brought food and meals to the house over the past few weeks. Most of all your prayers were so appreciated.

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