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Stu Johnston, civic leader, dies at 87

Posted: Friday, Dec 14th, 2012

Stu Johnston

Stuart Johnston died Dec. 10, 2012, of congestive heart failure. He was 87.

Stu was born on Dec. 12, 1924, in Portland, Ore., to Ed and Elsie Johnston. The family was living in Tigard at the time. They moved to Florence in 1939 and later founded the Johnston Motor Company. Now under the auspices of the family’s third generation, it is one of the oldest businesses operating in the city of Florence.

Beyond his business operations, Stu defined the term “civic-minded” with a love and dedication to the town of Florence. He served on city council for nine years in the 1950s and ’60s and was elected mayor in 1962, a position he held until 1970. He was the president of the Florence Booster Club, which once oversaw the annual Rhododendron Festival and parade, and was president of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce. He sat on boards in their formative years for Western Lane Community Foundation and the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum. He was a Port of Siuslaw commissioner for two years.

His name is intricate in most, if not all, of the city’s landmarks and accomplishments.

It has been said that the course of Florence was set while he served as mayor. Stu played key roles in the building of city hall and a library, paving the streets and proving to residents that their involvement could lead the formation of this town.

He leaves his wife Mary and four sons, Stuart, John, Brian and Adam.

A celebration of the life of Stu Johnston is in the planning stages for January and will be announced in the Siuslaw News.

This is Part One of a two-part story about the life of Stu Johnston. Part Two will be published next week.

For the complete article see the 12-15-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 12-15-2012 paper.

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