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MARTIN GEORGE JOHNSTON(1926 - 2014)

MARTIN GEORGE JOHNSTON My chains are gone, I've been set free My God, my Savior has ransomed me And like a flood His mercy rains, Unending love, Amazing Grace Martin George Johnston, 87, from Edinburg, Texas has left the old rugged cross and exchanged it for a crown as he entered heaven's gates on January 4, 2014 after fighting multiple illnesses for the past three years. Martin was born on May 28, 1926 in Mercedes, Texas to Charlie and Mary King Johnston. He was the oldest of nine children. Martin attended high school at Mercedes High School and Edcouch-Elsa High School, but earned his high school diploma from Edinburg High School after returning from WWII where he served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Hoggatt Bay CVE-75 in the Pacific Campaign. On March 7, 1948 he said he hit the lottery when he married the love of his life, Lilia Lopez from Rio Grande City, whom he met at the Edinburg Junior College campus. He graduated from Pan American College and received his Masters of Education from Texas A&I University in Kingsville. Martin taught history and Drivers Education for 18 years at Edinburg High School, was a principal at Hargill Elementary, a counselor in La Joya, Assistant Principal at South Middle School in Edinburg and Director of Elementary Education in Del Rio, Texas. Upon retirement from the field of education, Martin then served as a Deputy Sheriff for Hidalgo County. Being the active man that he was and loving to ride his tractor, he also shredded fields until the age of 83. With a strong belief in serving his fellow man, Martin was active in the Edinburg Noon Lion's Club, where he recently received his forty year service pin. He was also a member of the Edinburg Masonic Lodge, Serra Club, member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Edinburg and was a 4th Degree Knight. He volunteered many hours teaching Hunter's Education so others could enjoy the sport of hunting as he had. Martin was an active man who had a passion for hunting and being in the great outdoors. He once said that being out in the woods was as close to God as one could get. He loved reading history books and gun magazines, spending time at the ranch, playing his guitar, spending time with his family, finding things to "fiddle" around with and "galavanting" around. He could often be spotted at the South Closner Whataburger having a cup of coffee with his buddies. Martin had a great sense of humor, a character trait his girls truly cherished and embraced. His mottos were, "You gotta make 'em laugh", "Everyone needs a saleable skill", telling the youth to "Stay in school", "You've got to have God in your life" and "I hope you hit the lottery like I did." Martin is survived by his wife of 65 years, Lilia Lopez Johnston, originally from Rio Grande City; his daughters ("Honorable Descendants" as he called them), Janie Johnston Lopez (Mario) of Edinburg, Rebeca Johnston Sowin (Col. Tim Sowin) of San Antonio, Patricia Ann Johnston Villarreal (Bobby) of Edinburg, and Alma Johnston Besson of Dallas. He also leaves behind grandchildren, Vito Chavana (Melaney), Angela Garcia Avitia (Santos), Christina Lopez Salas (Raul), Michael J. Lopez, Alexis Villarreal (Felicia), Robert Villarreal, Adrienne Villarreal Martinez (Erik), Daniel Villarreal, Gabrielle Johnston Besson, Tristan Besson, and Avery Johnston Besson. Great-grandchildren, Trey Chavana, Samantha Garcia, Triplets Drew, Cody and Sydney Salas, Ella Avitia, Diego Martin Avitia, Erin Villarreal, and Felex Martin Villarreal. Martin's siblings are Fred Johnston (Fidela), Henry Johnston (+Barbara), Rudy Johnston (Mary) of Harlingen; Margaret Johnston, Marcella Johnston Purvis (+Joe), Rosemarie "Rose" Johnston all of Houston, and his brother-in-law Roy Ortega of San Antonio and sister-in-law Mary "Concha" Johnston of Louisiana. Waiting at heaven's gates for Martin to come home are his son George Martin Johnston, his parents Charlie Johnston and Mary King Johnston from La Villa, his grandparents Fred Johnston and Francisca Hinojosa Johnston of Mercedes, his siblings Charlie Johnston and Mary Frances Johnston Ortega of Corpus and his treasured uncles and friends, Henry King of La Villa and Aaron Johnston of Houston, his Uncle Fred Johnston of Mercedes, his aunts Margaret King Villasana of Dallas, Anita Sandoval of Pharr, and his beloved aunt Virginia "Mama Nene" Johnston Cardenas of Mercedes Visitation will be held from 5 to 9 p.m., with a 7 p.m. rosary Tuesday, January 7, 2014, at Memorial Funeral Home, 208 E. Canton in Edinburg. Funeral mass will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday, January 8, 2014, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Edinburg. Interment will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Edinburg, where he and his wife carefully selected their plots so they could stay close to their girls. Military honors will be conducted by VFW 7473 of Elsa. Masonic services will be conducted by Hidalgo Lodge 1036 of Edinburg. Funeral services are under the direction of Memorial Funeral Home in Edinburg. "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7 Sign the guest book at www.themonitor.com/obituaries



Published in The Monitor on Jan. 7, 2014
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