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H.J. "Sam" Johnston

Obituary Condolences

June 16, 1920-Oct. 3, 2013

H.J. "Sam" Johnston, age 93, of Alma, passed away Thursday, October 3, 2013 at Masonic Pathways.
Funeral Services for Sam will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, October 7, 2013 at the Nativity of the Lord Parish, St. Mary's site with Fr. Nate Harburg officiating. Interment will be in Riverside Cemetery. Visitation will be held Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m. at St. Mary's with a Rosary to be held at 6 p.m, led by the Knights of Columbus. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary's Catholic School, 510 Prospect, Alma, MI 48801 or Heartland Hospice.
Sam was born June 16, 1920 in Gagetown, Michigan the son of Harry and Therese (McCarthy) Johnston. He graduated from Gagetown High School and went on to attend Bay City Business College. He married Betty McHenry on May 8, 1943 in Durham, N.Carolina and together they raised eight children. Sam served in the Army during W.W.II being stationed in the European Theatre of Operations. He attained the ran of 2nd Lieutenant and was honorably discharged in 1945. Upon his return home he opened Johnston Grocery in Gagetown and operated until selling the store in 1956. Sam moved the family to Alma where he took a job as a Bean Inspector for the Central Michigan area working until 1968. Later that year he purchased Tice Distributing, a wholesale beer and wine distributor, and the business later became Johnston Sales Company. Sam sold his business to Fabiano Brothers and continued to work in sales with their company until 1985 when he retired.
Sam was a member of Nativity of the Lord Parish-St. Mary's site, a life member and past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Council 2966 and a life member of the VFW Post 1454.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Betty, 6 children, John (Micky) Johnston of Alma, Ann Johnston of Arlington, Texas, Laura (Greg) Clark of Alma, Mark (Mary) Johnston of Lansing, Mike (Jean) Johnston of Rochester, Minnesota, and Dave (Sally) Johnston of Alma. Daughter-in-law, Kathy Johnston of Alma, 21 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren and a sister, Marian "Myrt" Carroll of Pigeon.
Sam was preceded in death by his parents, 2 sons, James and Scott, grandson Scott Johnston, 2 brothers, Bill and Ed and 2 sisters, Margaret and Madelyn "Jack".
To view Sam's obituary online or to leave a condolence for the family please visit
Published in The Morning Sun on Oct. 5, 2013
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