Melissa (Hill) Johnston, 73, of Norwell, died Monday, July 8 at home after a courageous 10-year battle against thyroid cancer. She was born July 11, 1939, in Malden, daughter of Harold Henry Hill of Everett and Cynthia (Farrell) Hill of Medford. Melissa graduated from Marycliff Academy in Winchester with the class of 1957. On April 20, 1962, she married William Alexander Johnston, Jr. in Malden. She leaves her husband, William Johnston of Norwell; four sons, William Johnston III of Halifax and his fiance, Erin Fahey; Christopher Johnston of Hopedale and his wife, Robin; James Johnston of Freetown and his wife, Kathleen; and Douglas Johnston of Newton and his wife, Jessica; and eight grandchildren: Nick, Doug, Alex, Holly, Max, Rachel, Grace and Sarah. She also leaves nieces, cousins and many longtime friends. Melissa led a rich life, full of diverse interests. She read mysteries avidly and was a life-long volunteer at the James and Norwell Public libraries. She spent many happy hours in her extensive garden where lilies and hydrangea were perennial favorites. Fond of antiques and good design, she found special pleasure in decorating her home and in sharing rare finds with those she cared about. Whether on the beach or in a boat, Melissa loved the ocean. Pets of all kinds filled her days: rescue dogs, stray cats and the occasional gerbil, fish and even a wayward rooster. Empathy for others came easily, as did laughter at lifes absurdities. Friends and family, to whom she had devoted her life, surrounded her until her final day. Melissa was a wife, mother, aunt, friend, neighbor, coach, cheerleader, caregiver, teacher and confidant and she will be sorely missed. As Albert Pike wrote, What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. Private family services were held in Norwell. In lieu of flowers, donations in Melissas memory may be sent to: The International Thyroid Oncology Group, Treasurer, ITOG, PO Box 270, Yorkville, NY 13495 (http://www.itog.org/ donation)
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Published in The Norwell Mariner from July 13 to July 20, 2013