October 9, 2021
If a person's life can be judged by the happiness and love they shared with others, Lynn Johnston's life was extraordinary.
She treated her friends like family. And there were a lot of both in her life.
The daughter of Jack and Fran McElree, Lynn grew up in the Kensington section of Philadelphia and in Barrington, N.J., with her sister and best friend Kay. Lynn eventually met the love of her life, Clay Johnston. They married in 1974 and spent the next 47 years building a life together. And that life was built around family.
Lynn and Clay raised two children, their son, Ryan and daughter, Courtney. Lynn was the kind of mother everyone hopes for. She was caring and nurturing, supportive, loving and above all, fun to be around. In recent years, they also added a daughter in-law, Ryan's wife, Christine, and two new four-legged children, their dogs, Wrigley and Molly whom Lynn loved with all her heart.
Lynn and Clay's life together took them from South Jersey to Illinois and eventually to their home on the water at Smith Mountain Lake, Va. At every stop along the way, neighbors became lifelong friends because of Lynn's warm and fun personality. She wanted her home to be a welcoming place and always made sure to provide an open door for anyone who needed a somewhere to stay, a shoulder to lean on, a vacation spot, afternoons full of cocktails on the dock and late nights of laughter, hugs and warmth.
After she married into the Johnston family, Lynn became its emotional center. In a large extended family of brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins and beyond, she was the one that everyone could call when they needed advice, someone to share a laugh with, or to cry with, or to celebrate or complain about the latest Philadelphia Eagles win or loss.
Yes, like most people who come from Philly, Lynn was a diehard Eagles fan who spent Sundays with Clay rooting on the team from their seats behind the Eagles bench at the Linc. They traveled often from Virginia to Philadelphia to attend games together and with friends, including a trip to Minnesota to be there in person when the Eagles finally won the Super Bowl. She also had a love of music and learned to play the African marimba, entertaining at local music shows as a member of the Smith Mountain Lake Knock Knock Marimba Band.
Even in her work life, Lynn connected with others. When Lynn went back to work after raising her kids, she took a job where she could connect with others. Working at Naperville Central High School in suburban Chicago, she touched the lives of hundreds of students, many of whom affectionately called her "Mrs. J." Some even called her "Mom." That was the impact of knowing Lynn. You always felt like part of her family.
Lynn passed away on Saturday, October 9, 2021 surrounded by her loving family after a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer, but she never let it touch her spirit. To the end, she was always positive, always upbeat. Her life is celebrated by everyone who knew her, and the love that so many shared with her will never be forgotten. But in her memory, we can all stand up and cheer - Dallas sucks. Fly Eagles Fly!
A private family memorial will be held on Thursday, October 28, 2021 with plans for a larger celebration of life in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of Lynn Johnston may be directed to support cancer research at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Please make checks payable to Johns Hopkins University. Gifts may be mailed with a memo indicating that this gift is in memory of Lynn Johnston to: Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, P.O. Box 49143, Baltimore, MD 21297-9143, or make a gift online at www.hopkinscancer.org
. Additionally, gifts can be donated in Lynn's memory to the Franklin County Humane Society, 18401 Virgil Goode Highway, Rocky Mount, VA 24151.
Colbert-Moran Funeral Home, Gretna is assisting the family. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.colbertmoran.com
Published by Roanoke Times on Oct. 13, 2021.