Thursday, November 29, 2007

Glen Johnston 1939 - 2007

Sadly, my uncle Glen passed away on Tuesday, November 20, 2007, from complications related to congestive heart failure. He was about a month short of his 68th birthday.

Glen had not been in good health for some time; he was a lifelong smoker with a history of heart problems. Nevertheless, his death came as a shock to all of us.

Glen's obituary, which was written by his daughter Laura, ran in last Thursday's Temple Daily Telegram, but for some reason is not archived on their obituaries page. In the interests of posterity, I am reprinting it here in its entirety.

Of course, what is unsaid about Glen's life is just as important as what is said in the obit. Glen suffered a severe mental breakdown in the early 1980s, one which essentially erased his memory and caused him to suddenly leave his home and family in Oregon. Glen's whereabouts were unknown to everyone for several months, and we all feared the worst until he finally surfaced in Alabama. Glen's mental state improved with therapy, and he embarked on the herculean - and ultimately successful - task of rebuilding his life from complete scratch while in his 40s. Although we think that PTSD related to his service in Vietnam was a factor, we will never know with certainty what stresses and traumas caused Glen to suffer such a profound psychological calamity. He was an enigmatic person, even to those closest to him, and there are many things about his life that we will never know.

In spite of his life's difficulties, however, Glen Johnston was probably one of the nicest people I will ever know. He was gentle and friendly, had a dry sense of humor and was never judgmental.

To say that this has been a difficult time for my mother's side of the family (they've already suffered one loss this year) would be an understatement. Glen will be missed by all of us.

Glen Edwin Johnston, 67, of Morgan's Point Resort died November 20, 2007, at the Temple VA Medical Center.

He was born December 14, 1939 in Seminole, Oklahoma, to Henry William and Ruth Ella Mitchem Johnston. He attended school in Bowlegs, Oklahoma, and graduated from Seminole High School in 1957. He received a bachelor's degree in music education from Central State College in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1962, then became the high-school band director in Rush Springs, Oklahoma.

He was commissioned as a U.S. Naval officer November 22, 1963. He served on a minesweeper and a destroyer during the Vietnam War and received the Vietnam Honor Medal with combat action ribbon, among others. He was discharged in 1973 as a lieutenant.

He and his family moved to Bellfountain, Oregon, and took up farming. Glen earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural education in 1975 from Oregon State University. He worked as a realtor in Corvallis, Oregon.

He began work as an equipment salesman for Mohawk Equipment in Temple in 1985. He migrated to MTC when that company bought Mohawk, and stayed there until his retirement in 2005.

He married Katherine Jane Wilkins December 27, 1961, in Edmond. They later divorced. He married Barbara Lyman in 1980 in Corvallis. They later divorced.

Glen was both smarter and kinder than he let on. He enjoyed ships, fishing, crossword puzzles interesting machinery and unusual automobiles.

Survivors include daughters Laura (Frank Graham) of North Platte, Nebraska, and Elinor of Los Angeles, and their mother Jane; sisters Dorothy of Temple and Rosemary (Horace) Gray of Houston; brothers Jim (Carolyn) of Beaverton, Oregon; and Joe of Dodge City, Kansas; many nieces, nephews and friends including Jim Lane and Cheri Coninx; and his beloved poodle Charley.

He was preceded in death by his father in 1957 and his mother in 2000.

The body was cremated. His ashes will be buried at sea. A private memorial will be at a later date.

Arrangements are with Temple Funeral Home.

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