Michael Patrick Johnston was born October 31, 1950, in Renton, Washington to Edgar and Leola “Pedie” Hyatt Johnston, both deceased. He left his earthly body after a brief and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer on November 23, 2021. He is survived by siblings Michelle (Warrick) Matthews and Mitchell Sean Johnston, and niece and nephew Ashley and Andrew Matthews.
Mike and his wife of 44 years, Jo Ann Sugarman Johnston, journeyed together as parents to Colin (Crystal) Johnston and Nora Johnston. 20 years ago, he embraced Shevonne Putnam as one of his own. His grandchildren, Tyler, Finn and Eeva Johnston and Anna and John Baldwin have many memories of water balloons, “adventure is out there” walks and imaginative stories. Mike was in his element as a grandpa.
Mike grew up in an era before vaccinations, and both polio and measles left their mark. He was a March of Dimes poster child for greater Renton and relied on hearing aids most of his life. He worked hard to live above his challenges. Mike earned a degree in journalism from the University of Washington and completed the post-graduate program at Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon.
Community journalism was his niche. He worked from 1974 until 1986 as primary reporter on the weekly newspaper, Chinook Observer, in Long Beach, WA. In 1986 the family moved to Ellensburg where he was the senior writer on the Daily Record until his retirement in 2015. During those years he received state, regional and national awards for published stories and photography. Mike was especially gifted at writing feature articles as well as covering local government. He loved to hear and share other peoples’ stories. His consistent performance reviews included “make your stories shorter.” His solution was to break them into three parts! Mike was known for his objective and accurate reporting and the “messiest desk” in the office.
As a long-time member of Mercer Creek Church his service included children’s ministries, welcoming, and assisting those in need in our community. He valued his opportunities to be transparent in small group settings with other men. Poignantly aware of his own brokenness, Mike was always reaching out to those often overlooked by others, demonstrating the love and acceptance of Jesus he had received. His family and friends agree that he was the example of what it means to be a Christ follower.
A celebration of Mike’s life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 11, 2021 at Mercer Creek Church in Ellensburg. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Community Care Fund at Mercer Creek.
Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Mike and his family. Online condolences may be left at www.johnston-williams.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Michael Patrick Johnston, please visit our floral store.