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Wilbur “Wil” Sell Johnston

Date of Death: February 23, 2023
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Cynthia Everhart
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Carolyn Harding white
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Robin Blanka Light a candle
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First Presbyterian Church
116 South Loudoun Street
Winchester, VA 22601
Monday 3/6, 2:00 pm

Memorial Service


Memorial contributions may be made to
Blue Ridge Hospice
333 W. Cork St. Suite 405
Winchester, VA, 22601

Wilbur Sell Johnston, “Wil,” of The Village at Orchard Ridge, (97), died on February 23, 2023, at the home of his son, Alan Johnston, in Winchester, VA, surrounded by family. He was born in Winchester, VA, on 24 November 1925, the son of Wilbur R. Johnston and Vergie Carpenter Johnston. Mr. Johnston began employment inContinue Reading

Gerald Crowell left a message on March 12, 2023:
I am very sorry that Cheryl and i missed the notice of Wil's death and service. We were actually in Tennessee at that time attending the funeral of my own mother and arrived back in Winchester late March 5. Both Wil and Nancy were a big part of my professional life as a forester and as personal friends. I always enjoyed working with them on all of the forestry projects over the many years at Pinetop and of course the parties. Wil will be missed by us.
Linda K. Nicholson left a message on March 8, 2023:
Eulogy by daughter Linda Nicholson: I am Linda, Wil’s youngest daughter. I want to start by saying that my heart is filled with immense gratitude. I am so grateful for Dad’s amazing life and for all that he shared with his family and loved ones. The love that he and my mom shared brought us all together, six kids all between the ages of 10 and 14, entering their teenage years. He was truly courageous. And I have to say, he and mom raised some incredible human beings. I am simply in awe of my siblings, who gave Dad the greatest gift anyone could possibly give by coming together as a family to care for him in his final days on Earth. You all ROCK, and I am so grateful for each of you. What you so lovingly gave to him is a tribute to how much he gave to all of us, how much he meant to us, and how much love and connectedness he fostered with his family. I’d like to share a poem by Helen Steiner Rice that I found last week while going through things at Dad’s home. It’s titled, “There are Blessings in Everything”. Blessings come in many guises That God alone in love devises, And sickness, which we dread so much, Can bring a very healing touch, For often on the wings of pain The peace we sought before in vain Will come to us with sweet surprise, For God is merciful and wise … And through long hours of tribulation God gives us time for meditation, And no sickness can be counted loss That teaches us to bear our cross. I know that healing and peace were gifts that came with Dad’s final days, and I am so very grateful and blessed to be a part of such an incredible family. So, who was my Dad? Dad was a teacher. He taught us how to canoe and fish, how to garden and hunt to put food on the table, how to work hard to achieve goals, and in general how to be good stewards of the Earth. One of my earliest memories of his teaching was during a family camping trip to the Cove. We were all sitting around the campfire telling ghost stories when suddenly from right behind me came a ghostly, high-pitched quivering wail that made my hair stand on end. Nothing but a ghost could have made that sound, and I was about to faint when Dad jumped up with a flashlight and said, come with me! I sat frozen with fright, but when his flashlight illuminated a little screech owl sitting on a branch at the edge of the campsite, I made my way over for a closer look at this amazing little creature. I think this is a great example of how Dad took every opportunity to expose us to new experiences and to illuminate the mysteries of the world and dispel our fears. At the dinner table, Dad would first say the blessing (usually including a request that we all grow in wisdom and in stature), then he would lead us through a discussion of a current topic he had chosen. It was like a seminar course, but with food and without the reading assignments! And the family farm, Pinetop, was a vibrant site of learning, which brings me to Dad’s next major characteristic. Dad was a visionary and an adventurer. He was able form a vision, and then construct the step-wise process that would make his vision reality. Pinetop was one such vision. When he and Mom bought the land, there was poison ivy growing inside the house, but he was not phased. He had a brilliant and strong wife and a team of impressionable kids, and the farm was a perfect way to keep us kids out of trouble. With Mom and Dad’s guidance and a lot of hard work, the land and the house were transformed into a lasting legacy for generations to come. Even in their later years, he and Mom were always up for an adventure --- parents, you just can’t control them! They took trips that I advised them against because I thought were too risky, like going on their own to South Africa when they were well into their 70s. They always returned from their travels with incredible stories and pictures and unique gifts for each of us. Dad was a planner. His profession as a mapmaker was so fitting because he always had to know the landscape and to see where he was going. Leaps of faith were not so easy for him --- he told me several times, “I want to take the last bus home!” I called him every Sunday, ever since Mom passed away. It was hard for him to hear on the phone, but he graciously welcomed my intrusion into his Sunday afternoon crossword puzzles. We talked about all sorts of things, but one of those things was his desire to keep living. I think he struggled with not knowing what the beyond would look like, and how exactly would he get there. Who doesn’t? We make God too small, because our reference frame is here on Earth. What gives me hope and inspiration is seeing how things work at the quantum level. For example, light is photons, discrete packets of energy with no mass --- but if we collide a photon with a rapidly moving particle the photon is transformed into matter and antimatter. And if we combine matter and antimatter, we get pure light (with no mass). These are seemingly miraculous things that most folks don’t see, and yet they are real. I think that Dad caught a glimmer of where he was headed, and off he went! I sense that spirits travel on the wind, and the night after Dad passed away, a powerful wind came through. I think God was giving Dad a last trip around the world as he rejoiced in being released from a body that could no longer sustain his spirit. Please pray with me. Loving Creator of all that exists, you fashioned our Earth and all that is in it, you are everywhere and within everything for all time. You created the cosmos, yet each of us is beloved to you. Our time on earth is such a gift, where we learn to love you and each other. We come from you, the eternal source of Divine Love, and we return to you when our time on Earth is complete. We know that love is eternal, including the love that we share with each other. We are comforted knowing that Dad is in your loving embrace, in unimaginable glory, and that we are forever connected with him, as we are with you. Thank you, inconceivable God, for your mercy, your grace, and your unwavering love. May we leave here today feeling our eternal connectedness, with open hearts for your Divine love to flow through. Amen
Nicole ciaschi left a message on March 4, 2023:
I am so incredibly sorry for your loss! I'm sure it hurts tremendously.!! I'm sure he was a wonderful man and I am sorry for your loss.!! Sending much love and prayers.❤️??
Cynthia Everhart left a message on March 3, 2023:
My heartfelt condolences to the family. He was my grandfather’s (Samuel Johnston) nephew and they were close. He looks so much like my Papa. May he rest peace.
Carolyn Harding white left a message on February 26, 2023:
I have so many fond memories of you. Enjoy dancing with the angels.
Peace of mind is a call away. We're here when you need us most.
Robin Blanka left a message on February 25, 2023:
In memory of Wilbur “Wil” Sell Johnston, Robin Blanka lit a candle
Omps Funeral Home left a message:
Please accept our deepest condolences for your family's loss.
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