Rev. James Dennis (Jim) Johnston, Sr.
Published 9:49 pm Wednesday, July 24, 2013
On Saturday, July 20, 2013, the Rev. James Dennis (Jim) Johnston Sr. died unexpectedly but peacefully in his home in Tryon. Jim was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on November 8, 1922 to Sherman and Louise Johnston. His sister, Elsie Jo Barnes, pre-deceased him.
After earning a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, he joined the U.S. Army during WWII, serving in an intelligence corps in the South Pacific. On December 26, 1945 he was married to Dorothy Rosemary Peret, who died in 2005. They had been married for 59 years. In recent years, he enjoyed companionship and travel with Ingrid Biggins, who passed away earlier this year.
Jim is survived by a son, James Dennis Johnston Jr., his wife Sarah, and their daughter Katherine, of Farmington, Conn.; and by a daughter, Doni Johnston Ward, her husband Keith Ward, and their daughters, Eva, Kelli and Amelia, of Bat Cave, N.C. He will also be missed by several brothers and sisters-in-law, numerous nieces and nephews, and a large number of friends.
Jim was a dynamic and accomplished man, and an active participant in his community. He enjoyed several careers, working as an interior designer, a stock broker and a minister in the United Church of Christ, serving as pastor of the First Congregational Church in Waltham, Mass.
When Jim and Rosemary retired to the Tryon area in 1987, they became active in church, arts organizations, and other community groups. Jim was an avid outdoorsman, with a particular love of hiking; over the course of several years, he hiked almost all of the Appalachian Trail.
A world traveler, he enjoyed many trips to Europe, Asia and throughout the North American continent. He volunteered and later worked for hospice, providing pastoral care. He enjoyed attending plays and concerts, and even acted in some local productions. Jim was an award-winning member of the Rotary Club, and also, he supported Habitat for Humanity, the Friendship Council, the Democratic party, FENCE and other civic organizations. He will be missed by many.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at Tryon Congregational Church on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 2 p.m.