Dateline: February 18, 2010

Ernest Neal “Ernie” Johnston, 70, died Tuesday, February 9, 2010, in Clarendon.

Services were held at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 12, 2010, in the First Baptist Church in Clarendon, with Rev. Bill Hodges, Pastor of the First Church of the Nazarene, and Rev. Lance Wood, Pastor, officiating. Burial with Masonic Rites and Firefighter Honors was held at Citizens Cemetery in Clarendon. Services were under the direction of Robertson Funeral Directors of Clarendon.

Ernie was born November 7, 1939, in Hedley, to Walter and Inez Johnston. He grew up on the farm place in the Naylor Community of Donley County where he learned to farm. He attended Lelia Lake School from 1945 until 1956. He joined the Army National Guard in 1960 and served six years. He moved to Amarillo to work for Continental Panhandle Lines as a driver from 1961 until 1972. He married Beth Johnson September 14, 1962, in Clarendon. He then worked for Montgomery Ward Fleet from 1972 until 1986. Ernie worked for the City of Clarendon from 1989 until 1999 where he worked with the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission and was successful in getting the Recycling Plant built and helped educate the city residents about the importance of recycling. He served as Donley County Commissioner Precinct 1 from 2000 until 2008 were he had the opportunity to help get the Donley County Courthouse restored. He served as the Donley County Emergency Coordinator, was a Reserve Deputy Sheriff in Donley County, was a 32 year member of the Clarendon Volunteer Fire Department since 1978 where he served as 1st Assistant Chief as well as 2nd Assistant Chief, was named Firefighter of the Year in 1993, and was named 2009 Pioneer Man of the Year in Clarendon. 

Ernie was also a member of the Clarendon Masonic Lodge #700 AF & AM as well as a member of the Al Morrah Shrine Club where he served as president for three years and other offices through the years. He was a member and attended First Baptist Church of Clarendon. Ernie has worn many hats - farm hat, grocery hat, service station hat, John Deere hat, National Guard hat, Continental Trailways hat, Ward Fleet hat, City hat, County Commissioner hat, Fireman hat, Shriner’s hat, husband hat, daddy hat, and papa hat. While wearing all of these different hats, he has always loved his family, his friends, his town, his county and his country. The word “love” does not have to be said, he has shown his love by his dedicated service to each and every one of us.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Charles Kenneth Johnston; and his sister, Dorothy Vaught.

Survivors include his loving wife Beth Johnston; his children, Neal Johnston and wife Tammie, and Donna Roys and husband Eddie all of Clarendon; his brothers, Billy Ray Johnston of Clarendon, Redell Johnston of Howardwick, Dan Foster of Little Elm, Gary Keith Johnston of Amarillo, and Don Johnston of Roswell, NM; his sisters, Cleta Wilkerson of Dimmitt and Pam Mason of Clarendon; six grandchildren; and four great grandchildren. 

Casket bearers were members of the Clarendon Volunteer Fire Department.

The family may be contacted at 1113 West 3rd, Clarendon or (806) 874-2269.

The family requests that memorials be to First Church of the Nazarene Fellowship Hall Fund, PO Box 790, Clarendon, Texas 79226 or the Clarendon Fire Department, PO Box 364, Clarendon, Texas 79226.

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