John R. ‘Johnny’ Johnston

MARQUETTE, MI. – John R. “Johnny” Johnston, age 68, of County Road 550, Marquette, took his final ride in the woods on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at Marquette General Hospital, with his family at his side.

John was born April 1, 1945 in Marquette, the son of Hilton and Beda (Hultgren) Johnston, and was a life-long resident of Marquette. Throughout his high school years he worked at his parent’s store, the original Doc’s Corner, where he developed a strong work ethic and an appreciation of working with the public. He graduated from Graveraet High School in 1963 and soon after enlisted in the Army National Guard followed by his required time in the reserves. John delivered Coca-Cola for Elson Bottling Works before beginning a long career with the Department of Conservation in 1967 as a towerman, on watch for potential forest fires. He later was employed as a heavy equipment operator and fire officer prior to retirement in 2003 from the Department of Natural Resources. Following his retirement from the DNR, John remained one of Smokey Bear’s best helpers. He enjoyed volunteering for the Salvation Army and American Red Cross, and was employed at Bay Cliff Health Camp for over ten years where he developed close relationships with campers and fellow workers.

His love of the outdoors was a passion he passed on to his children. Rides in the woods with wife, Bonnie, were moments to be treasured. Generous with his time and talent, John was always willing to help anyone and everyone, and he loved spending time with his coffee buddies. To say he had an outgoing personality is an understatement. His love of people was a driving force in his life, and his smile and cheerful disposition never failed to light up the room. The ultimate demonstration of John’s giving personality was his choice to donate his organs. As a result four people he never met now have new hope for their future.

Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Bonnie (Sicotte) Johnston; his daughter, Lori (Ben) Snapp of Skandia; his three sons, Dan Johnston of Marquette, Eric (Kristine) Johnston of Fredericksburg, VA, and Jim Johnston of Carlshend; his seven grandchildren: Cutter and Dani Johnston, Chaise Ballotti, Richard, Myla, Miika, and Jonas “George” Snapp; his sisters, Sharon (Louie) Laurich of Marquette and Christine Johnson of Marquette; his close friend and mother-in-law, Myrl Sicotte; and numerous special nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and father-in-law, Noble Sicotte.

The family would like to express their sincere gratitude to the staff at MGH for the tender and loving care he received. The skill and sincere kindness you demonstrated to our family was nothing short of amazing.

The family will receive relatives and friends at the Bethel Baptist Church on Friday, January 24 from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm, and also on Saturday, January 25 beginning at 11:00 am, followed by a service of remembrance at 12:00 noon Saturday with Rev. John Tuttle officiating. A meal will be served afterwards.

The Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at