James Vann Johnston, Sr

James Vann Johnston, Sr., with the newly consecrated Bishop Johnston at the bishop’s office in Springfield, Mo.

Mr. James Vann Johnston, Sr., father of our bishop, passed away September 15. Please pray for him and his family. The following is his obituary that appeared in the Knoxville News Sentinel:

James Vann Johnston, Sr., age 90, passed away at home on September 15, 2017, after a long illness. He was the eldest of six children, born November 2, 1926 to James Clarence and Mary Elizabeth Johnston in Cave Creek, Tennessee. As a teenager, he attended Kingston High School and was the captain of the football team. Prior to being drafted into the Navy during World War II, he worked unawares as a young day laborer for the Atomic Energy Commission’s Manhattan Project at the K-25 and S-50 plants. He was drafted at age 18 and served in the Pacific as a signalman at the end of World War II. He graduated from Tennessee Tech with a degree in accounting and returned to work at the Atomic Energy Commission (later renamed the Department of Energy) for more than 35 years before retiring as Chief of the Accounting Branch in 1989. In 1986, he received an award from the U.S. Treasury for Distinction in Cash Management for developing a system that saved the government millions of dollars. He married the love of his life, Patricia Huber in 1956, and was happily married for almost 61 years. Excelling at many sports, he was especially fond of handball, and won several city tournaments. He was involved in Boy Scouts, was a little league coach, and a Vol fan. He and Pat sat in Section C, Row 44 for more than 50 years with his lifelong friends Bobby, Wally, and Ron. He was a dedicated, generous, and witty father. He loved annual beach vacations in Florida with his family. He began his Christian life through the Cave Creek Primitive Baptist Church. After being married in, and attending Holy Ghost Catholic Church with his wife and children for most of his adult life, he entered the Catholic Church. He passed on to his children amazing examples of faith, service, sacrifice, and hard work.

He was preceded in death by his parents Clarence and Mary Elizabeth Johnston, brothers Curtis and Thomas Johnston, and nephew Bobby Pomfret.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Patricia and children: Bishop James Vann Johnston, Jr., Beth Johnston Schmitt and husband Neil Schmitt, Dr. Steve Johnston and wife Dr. Gina Johnston, Amy Johnston Iverson and husband Nick Iverson, and grandchildren: Meg Schmitt, Sarah Beazley; Rebecca, Stephen, and Philip Johnston; Mary, Nicklaus, Joseph, Daniel, and Anna Iverson; as well as by his brother Zirkle Johnston (Linda), June Johnston Cannon (Wayne), Janis Johnston Pomfret (Bob), sister-in-law Betty Johnston, as well as many nieces and nephews.

The family requests that donations be made in Vann’s memory to the Ladies of Charity, 120 West Baxter Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37917, or Holy Ghost Catholic Church, 111 Hinton Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37917.


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October 31, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph