John D. Johnston obituary

COVINGTON — John D. Johnston passed away on Sunday, May 1, 2011. Dale, his loving and caring wife of 21 years, was with him.

John was born in Covington, Va., on June 15, 1941, the son of Robert L. and Verna Byers Johnston who have preceded him in death. His brother, Jim, died in an auto accident in 1979.

John spent the first three years of his life at Westvaco in Covington. In 1962 he joined other members of his family at Mathers Construction Co. Together they operated and ran both Mathers and March Excavation until both were sold in 2009. John was one of the organizers of Frontier Community Bank and served as chairman of the board until his death. He was a mason, a lifetime member of Nation Rifle Association and several civic organizations.

He is survived by his wife, Dale Sims Johnston; his brother, Robert L. Johnston Jr.; his son, J.D. Johnston Jr.; his daughter, Laura Leah Thacker; and son, Jonathan Sims, who resides in Florida. J.D.’s wife is Mary Cook Johnston and his daughter is Ashley Biggs. Mary’s daughters are Michelle Cook and Jessica Cook. Laura has three sons, Christopher Terry, Jordan Thacker and Benton Thacker. Her fiancé and my friend is Darrell Ruppel. All great children and grandchildren. My brother Bob has two daughters, Kathy and her husband, Chris Chittum and Susan and her husband, Chris Kerns. My deceased brother, Jim, was married to Joyce and they had two children, Jimmy, one of my favorites, and his wife, Teresa, and daughter, Frances Ann, and another favorite, Matthew Johnston, Jimmy’s son. Additional family Erma Sims and John, David and Kenny Sims. Also, Lois Hazen, the mother of my children. Her seven siblings were all a wonderful part of my life.

A celebration of life will be conducted at West Waynesboro Chuch of Christ (WWCC), 2212 Corland St., Waynesboro, by John’s long time friend and Preacher, Phil Forehand, at 2 p.m. Friday, May 6, 2011. A private graveside service will be held later to inter John’s ashes at his gravesite at Augusta Memorial Cemetery.

Keep in touch with Dale, J.D., Laura and Jonathan in the coming days. Don’t mourn for me. I’m in a better place. If I had pallbearers they would be hard to select, but I must mention some of my closest friends: Bernie Barnhart, Bruce Allen, John Harmon, Merv Wooten, Pete Marks, Mac Dale, Barry Cook, Phil Forehand, Bob Pack, Doug Deffenbaugh, Bob Errett, Everett Stratton and I could go on. These names are listed in random order, so no one should have their feelings hurt. There are many, many more I could mention, but you know who you are and I want to thank you all for the great memories. It’s been a good ride.

If you are not an organ donor, please make arrangements to do so immediately. There are a lot of people suffering while waiting on an organ.

Family and friends may view the obituary and sign the guest register online at

Now that you have finished reading, go out and do something good for somebody. GOD said if you love me you will keep my commandments.

I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn’t, than to live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is.

God bless you all.

It is suggested those desiring to make memorial contributions to the Waynesboro YMCA, 648 S. Wayne Ave., Waynesboro, VA 22980-4898 or to the Boys and Girls Club of Augusta, 302 E. Main St., Waynesboro, VA 22980.

(As published in The News Leader online at