In Memory of




Obituary for George E. Johnston

Our beloved father, George E. Johnston of Pittsfield, MA left us on November 25, 2023. Dad was born on August 19, 1926, the son of the late Ralph A. Johnston and the late Emily Hilda Kirton Johnston. As a boy, he spent idyllic summers in East Rupert, Vermont helping at his aunt and uncle’s farm. In 1952 he married our mother, the late Marjorie Sincere Johnston. She predeceased him in 1996.

Dad was a member of the 1945 class of Pittsfield High School vocational machine course. He left school early to enlist in the US Navy. He served one year in the Massachusetts Guard. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, beginning in 1944. While in the navy, he attended Basic Engineering and Diesel Engineering Schools and then served overseas in the South Pacific, first as a fireman and then was promoted to Motor Machinist Mate, Diesel. He served on three different ships, survived one typhoon and one main engine explosion during an invasion of Marcus Island. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and returned to Lanesboro to work in his father’s masonry business.

In 1947, Dad returned to high school to finish his education, was accepted as a tool making apprentice at General Electric and worked as a missal machinist and tool room machinist. He was also licensed to teach machine shop subjects and mathematics. He also worked part-time at Balgen Machine Co. as a machinist for many years.

Dad was appointed to the Pittsfield Fire Department in 1957 and worked his way up to the rank of Captain. Along the way he earned his Associates degree in Fire Science. He retired from the Fire Department in 1985 after 28 years of service. He was very proud to be a fireman and he believed that he was the oldest surviving Pittsfield fireman.

George was a lifelong member of the Berkshire County Forest Wardens, the Pittsfield Permanent Fire Association, the Massachusetts Firefighter’s Union, Post 446 of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10338.

Dad enjoyed hunting, fishing and being outdoors. He was always doing construction projects of some kind. He built beautiful stone walls as well as two barns, by himself, at his children’s homes. He used his talents to help many people, without ever taking credit for his work.

He is survived by his children, Wendy DuBois and her husband, Mark DuBois of Pittsfield, MA; Terry Cormier, and her partner, Nixon St. Bernard of Lanesboro, MA; John Johnston and his partner, Lori Fritz, of Big Lake, Alaska; and Jennifer Johnston-Degla and her husband, Rene Degla of Island Lake, Illinois. He is also survived by 7 grandchildren: Jason Deloye, Justin Cormier, Renee Cormier Muztafago, Corey Slack, Dylan Slack, Danielle Cormier Hoey and Adrianna Johnston, 5 great-grandchildren, and two nieces, Claudia Jean White of Pittsfield, MA and Sheryl Braun of Tallahassee, FL and a great nephew, Peter White of Pittsfield MA.

Dad was a wonderful father and a true gentleman. He enjoyed spending time with us kids, and always had time for us. He was kind, respectful, friendly, humble and dependable. He enjoyed all people, liked to kid around, and had a blessed life.

We would like to thank everyone who helped us take care of our father. We will miss him beyond measure.

As per Dad’s wishes, he will be cremated and there will be no services. In honor of George, be kind to someone, do a good deed, pay it forward, help a stranger, plant a tree or anything you feel would make him happy. Donations may be made in his memory to HospiceCare in the Berkshires in care of Dery Funeral Home, 54 Bradford St., Pittsfield MA 01201. Messages of condolences may also be sent to the funeral home.