Virgil Johnston Jr., 94

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

Virgil A. Johnston Jr., 94, died Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2009, at St. John’s Lutheran Home in Albert Lea. Memorial services will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Dwight Netzer officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the memorial service at the church.
Mr. Johnston was born June 26, 1915, in Fulton, Mo., the son of Virgil A. Johnston Sr. and Mary Jameson Johnston. He was married Feb. 23, 1939, to Wilma Maddux of Richmond, Mo., who survives.
Also surviving are a daughter, Judith (Robert) Reintsema of Fairfield Glade, Tenn., and a son Joe (Julie) Johnston of Albert Lea; and seven grandchildren, including: Alex (Angie) Johnston of Albert Lea, Blair (Emily) Johnston of St. Paul, Debbie Armstrong of Richmond, Va., Cindy McNeil, Gallatin Gateway, Mont., Sheryl Shaver of Terre Haute, Ind., Mary Brautigan of Longwood, Fla.; 12 great-grandchildren; and two great- great-grandchildren.
One son, George D. Johnston and one granddaughter, Cathy Perri, preceded him in death.
Mr. Johnston attended Westminister College, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and in 1935 joined the news staff at the Sun-Gazette newspaper, which was operated by his family. In 1949, following the death of his uncle George P. Johnston, Virgil was named editor of the newspaper and manager of the commercial publishing business and continued in that capacity until 1966 when the family sold the business.
After leaving the newspaper, he became the first director of Winston Churchill Memorial at Westminister College in Fulton, Mo., where Churchill made his famous “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946. Mr. Johnston headed the committee which arranged for the memorial’s dedication in 1969 and in 1973 he transferred to the College’s Development Department and served in that capacity until his retirement four years later.
Mr. and Mrs. Johnston moved to Albert Lea in 2003 to be close to their son Joe and reside at the Luther Place Condominiums. Virgil was an avid Missouri Tigers football fan and enjoyed watching the games with his son and grandsons. Always the editor in chief, Virgil read three major newspapers daily and two additional newspapers on-line. Staying abreast of the latest breaking news events in the political and business world gave him great enjoyment.
He will be deeply missed by all.

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