James Johnston

JOHNSTON, JAMES CHARLES 6/25/1941 – 4/10/2023 Embraced by loving family, James Johnston, 81, of Flushing, Michigan, passed away at home Monday, April 10, 2023. Family was Jim’s deepest lifelong devotion. Through 41 years of marriage, he and wife Peggie would write of their love, “More today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.” His children and grandchildren were his pride and joy, and he was their rock their biggest cheerleader and firmest supporter no matter what. Jim met everyone with genuine interest and caring. Even in sickness, he asked about others long before talking about himself. Everyone was welcome around his table. His keen mind took in countless connections, stories, and histories of his family, friends, colleagues, and even casual acquaintances and strangers. A wealth of knowledge passes with him. Given half an opportunity, he would teach any kid to swim, fish, or ride a bike skills and experiences he believed every child should have. With a generous spirit and a desire to give back, he and Peggie were active mentors for years through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flint and Genesee County. Together, they cheered and encouraged young family members from the seats and stands of countless stage performances, athletic fields, gymnastics meets, dance recitals, cheer competitions, wrestling matches, and more, even if they had to travel across the state to do it. Jim was also a fearless do-it-yourselfer and a lifelong “car guy” who loved the look of a fine automobile and kept his own shined and waxed to perfection. He followed with interest the personalities and workings of state and national politics, hopeful for a more perfect union. For many years and usually with family, he and Peggie enjoyed cabin life up north and trips to Alaska, Ireland, Hawaii, and China, along with RV travels crisscrossing the country. Born June 25, 1941, to Hazel (Loree) and Nestor Johnston in Flint, Jim was a proud member of the final graduating class of Flint Technical High School in 1959. He served in the U.S. Army and earned degrees from Mott Community College and Spring Arbor University. In more than 40 years with AC Spark Plug Division of General Motors, the company chose him to stay on through five corporate mergers as he worked in personnel, benefits, recruiting, and industrial safety before retiring as regional safety director from Delphi Automotive Systems in 1999. Treasuring his memory are wife Peggie, children Jeff (Grace) Johnston, and Janell (Joseph Hovorka) Beil; grandchildren Andrew Smith, Samantha (Jeff) Winter, Melanie (Jacob) Bryde, Jared Beil, Mattie Johnston, Lily Johnston, Anna Johnston, and Wren Johnston; great-grandson Dean Winter; and sister Connie Darlene (Tom) O’Brien. Generations of nieces and nephews remember him as a favorite uncle and role model. In death he is reunited with his parents; father-in-law Donald Coughlin and mother-in_law Dolores (Hoffman) Coughlin; sisters Estella (Charlie) Shannon, Gloria (Richard) Graham, Marion (David) Petriken, and Betty Beuchler; beloved brother Howard (Lonnie) Johnston; grandchildren Aaron and Jacqueline Johnston; and special friends Don and Linda Tate. A memorial mass and celebration of Jim’s life will take place at 1 p.m. Monday, April 17, at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 404 N. Dayton St., Davison, Michigan. The Rev. Andrew Czajkowski will officiate. Family will welcome guests beginning at noon until the time of service. A luncheon will follow. Those wishing to make a memorial gift are encouraged to support the drama program at Grandville (Michigan) High School.