John Philip Johnston

Published 4:31 pm Monday, August 29, 2016

John Philip Johnston, 70, died Friday, August 26, 2016, at the home he loved.

Mr. Johnston was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on November 11, 1945, to Hubert and Helen (Helms) Johnston of Brundidge. He was the third of their four children.

From Childhood, John Phillip was a product of another time. Always more at home with his grandparents and other older relatives than people his own age, he became a devoted collector of family history. In a world that values new over old and novelty over tradition, he was the keeper of family lore and the guardian of our collective past. A natural and gifted storyteller, he could speak of ancestors with such affection and familiarity that it seemed they’d just stepped out of the room when in fact they’d lived a century earlier.

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He passed his love of history and the written word on to a generation of students at Louisville High School. For twenty-six years, John Phillips’s Volkswagen Beetle was a fixture on the Louisville Campus, where he was famous for arriving before dawn each day. To the end of his days, he loved his Louisville Red Devils, the students he still referred to as “such nice boys and girls.”

John Philip is Survived by his wife of forty-five years, Diane (Mathews) Johnston, formerly of Banks. He died as he wished, at home, with her by his side. He is also survived by his daughters, Rebecca Woodham and Rachel (Henry) Everett, and his three grandchildren, Thomas Woodham, Malachi Everett, and Makayla Everett, all of Brundidge. Other survivors include his brothers, Leon Johnston of Daphne, Larry (Helen) Johnston of Troy, and his sister, Susanne (Kenneth) Sanders of Roeton, as well as a host of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Hubert and Helen Johnston; his son-in-law, Marcus Woodham, and his grandson, William Woodham. They, along with all the ancestors he studied for years, were there to welcome him home early this morning.

John Phillip Johnston was a husband, a father, a teacher, a historian, and a well-loved man. His life will be celebrated with a memorial service at Brundidge United Methodist Church at 3PM on Sunday, August 28, visitation is at 1:30 at the church with internment to follow at Lakeview Cemetery.

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