Robert “Bob” E. Johnston ’60

Robert “Bob” E. Johnston ’60 died peacefully at his home at Lake Norman, N.C., on Jan. 27. Born in Statesville, N.C., on Dec. 5, 1930, to the late James William, Sr. and Mary Johnston Johnston, he was preceded in death by his brother, James William Johnston, Jr. He grew up in Statesville, graduating from Davidson after attending UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State University and serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a Russian language expert in the Army Security Agency. He began attending Columbia Theological Seminary in 1960 and was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. (now PCUSA) in 1964. He went on to receive a master of theology and a sacred doctor of theology in pastoral care and counseling from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1978 and was certified in object relations theory and therapy at the Washington School of Psychiatry in 1991. He served two churches: as student organizing pastor of First Presbyterian Church of North Palm Beach, Fla., and as organizing pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church in Chamblee, Ga. He served as director of training for the Georgia Association for Pastoral Care in Atlanta, Ga., from 1971-77, before returning to North Carolina and serving as executive director of the Presbyterian Family Life Center in Charlotte. In 1986, he established Advacare, Inc., through which he provided training services for professional counselors, and he provided counseling and referral services for pastors in the N.C. Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, all the while continuing his practice of marriage and family counseling, which ended just two weeks prior to his death. Also, for 15 years he directed and taught an AAPC Pastoral Care Specialist Program at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte for medical and church professionals, ending in 2010. From 2003-06, he participated in a professional writing program through the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis, during which he wrote Itchy Bump, a Kinda Wild Thing, a children’s book set in Statesville. He is survived by his wife, Jean Medearis Johnston, 21420 Rio Oro Dr., Cornelius, NC 28031-6722, whom he married on June 17, 1961; his daughter, Libby Johnston Strahan and her four children, Liza (17), Jacob (15), Addie (14), and Ethan (12) Davis; and his daughter, Kathryn Johnston Tart (Joey Tart) and their two children, Joseph (6) and namesake, Robert Tart (10 months). The great joys of his life were his relationships with God, his wife, his family, his dogs, and people. He never met a stranger. He also loved golfing, boating, fishing, traveling, learning, and physical exercise, especially walking with his dog, Tops, in his neighborhood and on Sunset Beach. Among his favorite things was cultivating his own special style of dressing, which he wore with pride as he drove around town with the top down in his convertible, his faithful companion, Tops, at his side. Also, Johnston’s passion was providing counseling and psychotherapy for people in need.