Rufus Manfred Johnston III, 79, died April 29, 2014, at his residence. He was born Aug. 19, 1934, son of the late Rufus and Loulie Johnston of Gastonia. He graduated from R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston Salem and from Davidson College in 1958 after having served in the Army from 1953 to 1955.
On returning to Gastonia, he worked at Westvaco for thirteen years; in 1972 he began working at Taylor Realty Co. with his good friend Caswell Taylor, and eventually the two became partners at Taylor-Johnston Realty Co. During his real estate career, he served as President of the Gastonia Board of Realtors and numerous committees. Upon Cas’ retirement, Manfred closed the office and worked at Prudential Realty Co. until 2006. After he retired, he continued to work in property management in his company Johnston Realty Co. until recently.He was lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church and served both an elder and a deacon.
He is survived by his beloved wife Geraldine Johnston and two children, Mike Johnston (Valerie Johnston) and Susan Elkins (Art Elkins). Grandchildren include Erin Johnston, Ben Johnston, Caitlin Elkins, Morgan Elkins, Cooper Johnson, Blake Johnston, and great granddaughter, Quinn. Other special family members include Grady and Sally Kennington, Robert and Shelton Johnson, Catherine and Rick Sonnier, Rick and Dana Martin, Lynne and Rick Bellew, David Nee Smith and sister-in-law Betty Hillbish (Buddy).
Visitation will take place at Covenant Village (1351 Robinwood Road) on Wednesday night, April 30, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church Gastonia (1621 E. Garrison Blvd) at 11 a.m. Thursday May 1, 2014 with Pastor John Stanley and the Rev. Dr. John L. Frye Jr. officiating. Interment will be private.
The family would like to thank the staff of Covenant Village and Gaston Hospice for their exceptional care.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Black Mountain Home for Children. 80 Lake Eden Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711 or Parish Nurse Ministry, First Presbyterian Church, 1621 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia NC, 28054.
Condolence messages may be sent online at www.McLeanFuneral.com.