In Memory of Jeff Johnston

Jeff Johnston
Jeff Johnston
Born: November 14, 1956
Died: January 2, 2015
Age: 58
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Jeff Johnston
November 14, 1956 - January 2, 2015
From: rural Zearing, IA
Jeff Johnston, age 58, of rural Zearing, Iowa, died Friday, January 2, 2015, at Israel Family Hospice House in Ames.  

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, January 7, 2015, at Cornerstone Church of Christ in Zearing, with Pastor Chuck Ryan officiating.  Burial will be at a later date in the Zearing Cemetery.  A Celebration of Life visitation will be held at the church on Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. 

Born November 14, 1956, in Nevada, Iowa, Jeffrey Scott Johnston was the son of Franklin “Dale” and Mildred (Clatterbuck) Johnston of Zearing.  He grew up and received his education in Zearing, graduating from NESCO High School in 1975.  He then attended Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls.

 On December 30, 1976, Jeff married Joyce Eley in Hubbard, Iowa.  The couple made their home outside of Zearing and were blessed with three children:  Guy, Rachelle, and Dalton.

 In the early years, Jeff worked as a farmer, hog producer, and also had part-time jobs working as an electrician, plumber, and in heating and construction.  He found his love of woodworking at Classic Cabinetry in Radcliffe and eventually partnered with John Dennis to form Holzern Designs.  This company became Holzern Design, LLC, owned by Jeff and Joyce.  When not working in town, Jeff was easily found in the shop covered with sawdust and stain.  He enjoyed working with many wonderful customers, providing high-quality cabinetry for homes, offices, and shops.

 The last decade of Jeff’s life was spent working as Superintendent of Zearing, taking care of the town and people he loved so much.  He took great pride and effort in performing many tasks that often go unnoticed or acknowledged.  He cared for people and the quality of small town living.  Jeff had great appreciation for his co-workers, volunteers, the mayor and council…everyone working to create and support life in a small Iowa town.  He had a great working relationship with the Story City water department – always there with advice, support, friendship, or a joke.  He loved ‘Zearing’ and took great pride in his efforts to maintain the town and duties of his position as City Superintendent.

 His best times were spent with family.  He found great joy with his grandkids.  He was an avid ISU Cyclones fan, believed in buying American, and had the philosophy to err on the side of doing the right thing, help others, and to be thankful for life’s blessings.

 Jeff loved time with friends – the convenience store coffee club, sharing stories (some fact but mostly fiction).  He had many wonderful friends with whom he made many fond memories.  He wasn’t bothered by clocks and didn’t fuss over the social details of life.  His wit was quick and his tongue clever.  Jeff will be remembered as honest, kind, and giving.  He was protective and strong for those he loved; our world was a better place because of him, not because of great innovation but because of his quiet, caring example of leadership.

Survivors include his wife, Joyce; three children and their families, Guy and Lori (Coffman) Johnston and their children Kelsey and Ryan of Story City, Rachelle and Mike Bastow and son Mason of Prairie City, and Dalton and Sydney (Halferty) Johnston of Roland; two sisters, Beth Dodds of Zearing and Judi (Terry) Nessa of Huxley; a brother, Bruce (Lyn) Johnston of Scottsdale, AZ; his parents-in-law, R. Wendell and Helen Eley of Zearing; and many nieces, nephews, other extended family members and a host of friends.

 He was preceded in death by his parents.

 Ryan Funeral Home of Nevada has been entrusted with the care of Jeff and his family.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 9:22 AM
“Joyce & family: I was so sad to hear the news that Jeff had passed. I intended to attend the visitation tonight but it seems the weather may prevent that trip. I think Jeff may have been the first person I knew before we started kindergarten. I used to play with him when Mom went to have coffee with Noreen Tisdale next door. Jeff always had a smile on his face and a kind word for all. What a lot of childhood memories from kindergarten to senior year. Even though I didn't see you guys very often, it was always nice to run into you at a community gathering. May God be with you and your family during the next days, weeks and months. Jeff will be missed by many.”
- Beth Oakes Lawler
Monday, January 5, 2015 at 9:25 PM
“Jeff was such a wonderful man! Not to mention that he and Joyce raised an AWESOME family! I will always cherish our friendship. I will never forget the times we shared on our annual "Harley trip". I never got to introduce Jeff to my Dad, as he passed in 2004. I hope they will be able to meet in Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joyce and ALL of the family!!!!”
- Blake Greenfield
Monday, January 5, 2015 at 9:25 PM
“Dear Joyce and family,
You are in my thoughts and prayers. Hold tight to your wonderful memories and may they bring you peace.
The ones we love remain with us,
For love itself lives on,
And special memories never die
Because a loved ones gone,

The ones we love can never be,
More than a thought apart,
For as long as there is a memory,
They'll live on in our heart.

* May the memories that mean the most live forever in your hearts.”
- Nancy Ambrose
Monday, January 5, 2015 at 9:25 PM
“Joyce, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. He is in God's hands now and no longer suffering. The road ahead will be difficult for you and your family but I know it will be paved with many great memories that will fill your heart and help ease your pain. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.”
- Kathi Gammon
Monday, January 5, 2015 at 9:25 PM
“As I begin my 1st full week of 2015 at City Hall, it is with a huge sadness in my heart that my co-worker and friend will not be here to give helpful advice, aggravate with his wise comments and smile on his face and then run out of here jump in the City Truck and drive off only to come back with another smile and comment. Jeff, you know I miss you. He will continue to give advice or aggravate and he is the best guardian angel.

Joyce and Kids-Thank you for sharing your husband and father with the Zearing Community! His presents will be greatly missed. ”
- Shelley Soe
Monday, January 5, 2015 at 9:25 PM
“Jeff was a guy that made the world a better place. If the world was made of "Jeff's" we would have no worries. He was a friend, a partner and a man I had the upmost respect for. He lived in a world of doing the right thing, always. He loved and admired his wife, his kids, his grandkids and always stepped up to the plate for anyone in need. I will miss you Jeff. Sending my prayers for Joyce and the kids. ”
- Marsha Bannister
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM
“Jeff was a wonderful man that will be missed! The entire family is in my thoughts and prayers. ”
- Wayne Wheatcraft
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM
“I did not know Jeff well or for very long but he always took a moment to say hi and ask how I was doing when I saw him around town. He will be missed!!”
- Sarah Clark
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM
“We were so sorry to hear of Jeff's death! Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Joyce, and family! ”
- Bob and Judy McCollom
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM
“Our deepest condolences to Joyce and the entire Johnston family. We will continue to lift you up to God and pray for peace and comfort in your time of loss.
Kent and Laurie Cocking”
- Kent and Laurie Cocking
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM
“Dear Joyce and family,
I am so shocked and sorry to hear this news. You have my deepest sympathy. i remember Jeff as such a nice and kind person, as were his parents. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Too many of my former NESCO students are experiencing such tradgedy, and it is not fair! To me, you are locked in time of 1972-1976, and you are just kids! I am thinking of you.”
- Sharon Morrical
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM
“Joyce and kids. I know that you already know what a special man, Jeff was, but I hope you know how many others his life touched. I considered him a great friend, and will never forget his visit to me after I got home from the hospital. A man of great Faith, he knew he would be taken care of. He only wanted to live to see his grandkids grow up. He is looking down, with even more love upon his beloved Joyce and family. I love Ya and miss Ya, buddy. God bless you!”
- Gary and Kelly Hendrick
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 6:01 PM
“The visits John had with Jeff those last weeks of John's life meant so much to him.
They laughed and shared thoughts about old times and of course, the new life they
both would have in Heaven. Prayers to your family, Jeff. You will be missed.”
- LoriJo Lounsberry
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 6:01 PM
“Just been reflecting on all the great memories of Jeff and you, Joyce! Always together!
Thankful even though he has left us here on earth, we still have the great memories to think/talk about!
He was always so nice and kind! Praying God's peace and comfort for you Joyce and
Your family! Love you! Deborah & James”
- James and Debirah(Roberts) Siemens
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 6:01 PM
“Some of my favorite childhood memories include spending time at the Johnston house. Jeff was an incredible father and amazing friend. Prayers to Joyce, Guy, Rachelle, Dalton and families. ”
- Tara and Jeff Menke and Family
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 6:01 PM
“To Syd, Dalton, Mrs. Johnston, and All the Family, We are so sad to hear about Jeff's passing! I'm so sorry we didn't even get to meet him, but we know we will see him one of these days in Heaven. Our hearts, prayers, love and HUGS go out to You All . . . May the God of Heaven comfort All of You during this most tender time . . . Aunt Jeannie, Jeannette, Jason, Jeffrey & Grandkids . . . XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO”
- Jeannie Mathis
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 6:01 PM
“Joyce and family ~ My thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time. May God comfort you. ”
- Margaret (Lundy) Coonan
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 1:04 PM
“30 years ago at 2:00am he drove 30 miles to bring me a spare set of keys to unlock my car then laughed and called me a dumbass. I love him for that!
My thoughts and prayers to all his family and friends. ”
- Bruce Reischauer
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 1:04 PM
“Thoughts and prayers are with you, Joyce and your family.
Brian & Angela (Roberts) Lund”
- Brian & Angela (Roberts) Lund
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 12:34 PM
“My thought's and prayers are with you all!!!! Hugs to each and everyone of you!!! Your, husband and Dad was a very very special man! God is blessed with another angel!”
- Janelle Gordon
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 12:34 PM
“John and I are praying for you Joyce and your family. May Gods love and grace be with all of you...
- Kathy and John Fuller
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11:00 a.m.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Cornerstone Church of Christ
Zearing, Iowa


Pastor Chuck Ryan


Doug Perisho
Max Dunlap
Raymond Eley
Kevin Dougan
Terry Nessa
Lynn Coen
Jay Dougan
Bram Dougan
John Dennis


5-7 p.m.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Cornerstone Church of Christ
Zearing, Iowa


At a later date
Zearing Cemetery
Zearing, Iowa