Gary Gene Charles Johnston, 80, of Bandera passed away peacefully on December 15 surrounded by his children in the family home he cherished and in the community he loved. His was a life well-lived, and his gentle, kind and humorous manners were widely appreciated.
Gary was born on August 10, 1940, at Nix Hospital in San Antonio and was raised on the family ranch in Bandera.
He was preceded in death by his father, Magnus Eugene Johnston and mother, Louise Brogan Johnston, his brother, William F. Johnston, and his wife, Claire Beecroft Johnston.
After high school, Gary was employed at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and served in several capacities, including public relations, for 30 years. While working at TxDOT he attended San Antonio College and in 1973 received his associates degree in Business. After his retirement from TxDOT he became a real estate broker and started his own firm in Bandera. During this time, he earned another degree from San Antonio College in Real Estate Management. For 30 years he shepherded hundreds of families through the complex world of real estate, closing his last contract only a few short weeks before he passed away.
Gary was a true gentleman and was a friend and mentor to many. He was always involved in the improvement and economic development of his community. He regularly called on business and community leaders, Texas and United States senators and representatives, Texas governors and their aides, all of whom he knew on a first-name basis.
He earned numerous community service awards and served on the Central Appraisal District Appraisal Review Board and as its Chairman, the Bandera County Library, the Bandera County Republican Party and also served as its Chairman, the Bandera County Chamber of Com merce and the Bandera ISD Education Foundation.
As a rancher, Gary was successful in having the Johnston Family Farm added to the State of Texas Family Land Heritage Registry, a distinction reserved for farms and ranches that have been in continuous operation by the same family for 100 years or more.
Gary was a lifelong member of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Bandera.
Reading was a passion, and he filled a private library with thousands of books on every subject. While history was a favorite, Gary felt the cultivation of the mind meant studying every topic as thoroughly as possible. He took the opportunity to visit many of the places he had studied in his library during a recent trip to Europe with his close friend, Angelika Inzanti.
Gary cherished his family’s past, present and future. He revered his ancestors’ contributions to building Bandera County, and recalled how his grandfather laid the stone for the old schoolhouse, which still stands today as an important center for education on the grounds of Bandera Middle School. He spoke often of his pride in the accomplishments of his children and worked diligently to secure the family’s legacy well into the future. Gary lived a long and gratifying life. He was a faithful servant of his fellow man and of God and His church.
He is survived by his sister, Kathy Johnston Vore; and his wife and the mother of his children, Patricia Jeane Vawter Johnston Renton; children, Jordan M. Johnston and wife Sandra Witherspoon Johnston; Daria J. Johnston Williams and husband Jason Williams; Marcus Frazier Johnston II; his grandchildren, Frances Johnston Byrd, Kaitlin Frances Johnston, Krista Jeane Johnston Bryant, Luke Williams, Joshua Williams, and Joseph Williams; great-grandchildren, Brooklyn Everett, Braylen Everett, Brylee Everett, Braxton Byrd, Mendon Patrick Bryant, Jordan Allen Bryant; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held on Saturday, December 19 at 10:30 a.m. at Grimes Funeral Chapel, 1214 Mulberry St, Bandera, Texas 78003. A mass at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Bandera will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Peterson Hospice.