Oren Johnston Jr. of Selah, WA passed away at home on February 12, 2013.
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He was born March 12, 1923 in Sebastopol, CA, the eldest of three sons born to Elmer Oren Sr. and Carmen Smith Johnston.
In 1934 the family moved to Craig, AK where they worked together in the fishing industry.
On November 15, 1943 he married Ruth McCay. They were married almost 64 years until Ruth's passing October 2007.
Oren served his country, in the Army during WWII while stationed out of the Aleutian Islands.
At the age of 15, he and his brother Harold bought their first boat together. Oren and Ruth retired from fishing in 1986.
In 1946, Richard was born in Ketchikan, AK. The winters of 1947 - 1949 were spent living on their boat in Seattle while Oren, Harold, 2 uncles and Harold's father-in-law helped each other build new boats. The Ruthie was launched in 1949 and that set a new course in their lives as they moved to California to fish albacore. Scott was born in Eugene, OR in 1950. From 1953 - 1968 Oren took a break from fishing while he raised his family. In 1953 they moved to Santa Rosa, CA where they lived for 12 years. During this time Oren had a partnership with Kaare Stjern. They co-owned Stjern & Johnston Cabinets. In 1955, Cindy was born. In 1955 and 1956 Oren and Kaare built the family home, which came to be referred as, the house on the hill. On December 14, 1963 Brenda became a part of the family at the age of four.
In 1965, the family moved to Yakima, WA where Oren worked for Modern Millwork in cabinetry.
Oren returned to fishing in 1968, trolling for salmon in S.E. Alaska until 1986. Consequently they moved to Skagit Valley in 1973 where they resided for 34 years. During this time Oren completely remodeled two homes and built his last boat, it was fiberglass and was also named "Ruthie".
Oren was devoted to his family. He forged many life-long friendships. His greatest joy was to sing God's praises. A talented song leader from youth, he used his ability to lead others in worship wherever he lived.
Oren spent his last 5 years in Selah, residing with Richard and his family.
Oren was preceded in death by his wife Ruth, parents, brothers Harold and Thomas Earl, son Scott and grandson Bradley.
He is survived by his children, Richard (Monica), (Jeannie), Cindy Fay (Pete) and Brenda; his grandchildren, Jeff, Monica (Susie), Jessica, Heath, Tja, Sheri, Amanda, Michael, Derek, Heather, Tory and one step-grandson Justin. He also leaves behind 18 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 2pm Sunday, March 10th at the Ahtanum Church of Christ, located at 4309 Ahtanum, Yakima, WA. All are welcome.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on Mar. 8, 2013