Obituary for David Elwell Johnston
David Elwell Johnston, 84, of Spring, Texas, died on Friday, October 6, 2017, surrounded by his family. He courageously battled cancer with his own brand of pragmatism and optimism.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, October 20, following the rosary, at St. Edward Catholic Church, located at 2601 Spring Stuebner Road in Spring, Texas. Interment will take place at the Houston National Cemetery at 10:45 a.m. on Monday, October 23.
Dave is survived by Helen Johnston, his wife of over sixty years, their children Jody Gressett and husband David, Sandy Joseph and husband Mark, Vicky Evans, David Johnston and wife Karen, and Mary Pat Kuehler and husband Francis; as well as his sister Janet Ostdiek. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Brian Gressett and wife Monica, Kevin Gressett and wife Jamie, Tim Joseph and wife Amor, Vicky Joseph, Lindsay Lay and fiancé Joe Guy, Jason Lay, Will Evans, Kelsey Evans, David Johnston and partner Lauren White, Courtney Johnston, Kaylyn Johnston, Patrick Kuehler and wife Jessica, Jon Kuehler and wife Jaymie, Daniel Kuehler, AnnaLee Kuehler, Olivia Kuehler; and great grandchildren Keaton Lay, Chance, Jenna, and Paige Gressett; Hope and Landry Gressett; Lyla, Maddox, and Cohen Johnston; and Carlie Jo and Charlotte Kuehler.
He is preceded in death by his infant twin brother, parents Alice and Ralph Johnston, daughter Debra Kay Lay, and brother Donald N. Johnston.
Dave was born on July 11, 1933, in Orchard, Nebraska. He graduated from Neligh High School and attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He met Helen, his life-long love, on a blind date with friends. They were married in November of 1955 at Saint Bonaventure Catholic Church in Nebraska. He proudly served in the United States Navy, thereafter he launched his electronics career with General Dynamics Astronautics on the Atlas Missile Project. From there Dave returned to his farming roots in Nebraska. He eventually made his way to his new home state of Texas, where he enjoyed a successful career in the oil and gas industry. His work involved locations throughout the United States, including Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, South America, Libya, and points in between.
Upon retirement, Dave and Helen were “homeless” as they travelled extensively throughout the country by RV. His greatest joy was to be with his family, and after settling down in the Spring area, he enjoyed countless family gatherings. His family has many memories, stories, and opinions to remember him by, especially the example he set of the importance of family.
He believed in hard work and the value of personal responsibility. He expressed his feelings for those he loved through unhesitating and selfless action. No distance was too far for him to get to where he was wanted, and he made it a priority to attend family graduations, weddings, and birthday celebrations. He was an avid Cornhusker fan and if Nebraska lost, he was certain that poor officiating was a contributing factor. He loved NASCAR and mechanics, was a fix it yourself kind of man and visited most of the museums in the United States that were dedicated to aviation or cars.
He was a Fourth Degree Member of the Knights of Columbus and a life member of the VFW Post 3704 in Columbus, Nebraska. He participated in the “That Man is You” program at St. Edward and volunteered in the Church’s hospitality ministry. Dave was well regarded in his professional life and his family loved him very much. We will miss hearing his stories and debating with him about current events. As he said many times, he was a blessed man. His was a life well lived.