J. Edward Johnston October 19, 1942-January 13, 2021 Gary, IN
J. Edward Johnston, 79, passed away January 13, 2021 in a Chicago nursing home, surviving two years after a massive stroke in 2018. He is survived by his wife of 49 years Monica (nee O’Neill), son Padraig and partner Matthew, as well as his brother Dan (Barb) of Granger and family. He was preceded in death by his parents Lowell Swander Johnston (1999) and Tilly Lourene Johnston (1998.) of Shelbyville, Illinois.
Born the oldest son of a machinist and a school teacher in Hammond on October 19, 1942, Ed went from being a mischievous boy scout to a young adventurer hitchhiking across the United States after he graduated Manchester College with a theater major. He joined the newly formed Peace Corps and volunteered in Ecuador where he learned fluent Spanish. After a stint as a teacher, he found his place in Gary at the Lake County Dept of Public Welfare where as a caseworker the highly social combination of working with a public in need, and a workplace that needed union organizing suited him perfectly. Ed organized the Lake County Public Employees Union, that became AFSCME Local 3146, which he was president of for ten years. At nights he and Monica rehabbed houses in their home of Gary to become generous landlords, and took up assistant coaching Padraig’s soccer team. He loved being a union steward and occasionally winning victories against professional lawyers. From 1995-2008 he worked as a Staff Rep for AFSCME Council 62 where he worked with the Hammond and Gary librarians, Gary City and Sanitation workers, as well as many others. His broad range of personal interests included training his dogs, bread baking, and reading. As a retiree he helped Monica with the Warren Vigo Block Club in Miller, and took up long distance bicycling. He will be sorely missed in many hearts, but anywhere one stands with their coworkers for justice in the workplace his spirit will live on.
J Edward Johnston was cremated on January 19, but the family will organize an outdoor memorial in the spring. Arrangements were entrusted to Bocken Funeral Home, Hammond, IN (219)844-1600, www.bockenfunerals.com.
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