OBITUARY

James Delbert Johnston

December 28, 1926April 23, 2021
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James Delbert “Dada” Johnston of Nacogdoches passed away April 23, 2021, at his home at the age of 94. He was born December 28, 1926, in Tecula, Texas to parents Alton Toby Johnston and Verna (Bullock) Johnston.

A graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, Mr. Johnston was a basketball coach, teacher, principal, and superintendent before retiring from Central Heights Schools. An All-American in basketball, he was also named to the SFA Basketball Hall of Fame. He proudly served his country during World War II in the United States Marines. He was a founding member of Calvary Baptist Church in Nacogdoches.

James’s hobbies included playing 42, bridge, fishing, and tending to his yard. He enjoyed traveling including trips to Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee. He was quick-witted and famous for his one-liners.

Mr. Johnston was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Vallie Kendrick-Johnston; granddaughter, Stephanie Fowler; brother, Alton Johnston; and sister, Sue Wallace.

He is survived by his daughters, Sherry Johnston-Fore and husband Ray of Nacogdoches and Gayla Johnston of Nacogdoches; grandchildren, Greta Fore-Simon and husband Jeff of Athens, Greece, Tyle Ray Fore and wife Kelli of Nacogdoches, James Clark Fowler and wife Allie of Carthage, Philip Andrew Fowler of Lufkin, and Kenneth Jordan Fowler of Carthage; great-grandchildren, Kastyn Ray Fore and Lennon Jae Fore, both of Nacogdoches and Hayden Elizabeth Fowler and Alexander Mason Fowler, both of Carthage; sister, Maxine Robertson of Jacksonville; brother, Johnny Ray Johnston and wife Mary of Tyler; special love, Mildred Pitts of Nacogdoches; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Graveside services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday April 25, 2021, at Sunset Memorial Park officiated by Pastor Paul Sevar. Serving as pallbearers will be Mr. Johnston’s nephews and grandsons.

The family would like to extend a special “thank you” to Right At Home Care Givers and Affinity Hospice for their loving care.

Arrangements are under the direction of Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors, Nacogdoches.

Services

  • Graveside Service

    Sunday, April 25, 2021

Memories

James Delbert Johnston

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William Clark

April 27, 2021

I came to know and respect James when I served on the Board of Trustees for Central Heights Schools. He was an all around good person. I am saddened by his passing but I am sure he walks with Jesus. RIP James.

Geri Grimes-Coats

April 24, 2021

James and Vallie were special friends of ours. They were neighbors at one time, in the same church family, social friends who did exciting things like frog gigging, fishing, playing 42, eating together and enjoying lots of music!
Sherry and Gayla, I know you will miss him greatly, but rely on all your good memories and your faith in knowing you will see both parents again some day.
They were both special people and we are all so blessed to have known them. Thoughts and prayers are with you all. Sincerely, Geri

Charla Sparks

April 24, 2021

I grew up going to church with Mr Johnston and Vallie. They were great friends of my mom and dad’s. They played croquet together. They also would play 42 half the night. They would end up putting pallets down for us kids to sleep on. I can still remember the pew that he sat on at church as Vallie played either the organ or piano and Geri played the other. Such great memories.

Ronnie Porter

April 24, 2021

To the Family of "Mr. J":

I am so saddened to hear of the passing of one of my all time favorites as an employer, friend, and co-worker. Mr. J, as so many of us called him....back in the day......, was so influential and supportive as I began my teaching and public school career back in 1971. As my first superintendent, he was always offering support, advise and counsel to help me through a challenging first year as a teacher. I know I would not have enjoyed the success I did if it were not for the support of Mr. J!! Please accept my deepest condolences and support as you mourn the passing of a truly great man.

Sincerely,
Ronnie Porter

Travis Russell

April 23, 2021

Mr. Johnston, or as many of us called him, Coach, was a class act, and a model for young kids to follow. He was a fine example of a Christian to all of us. He was a dedicated employee to Central Height ISD, where he guided many of us toward a better life. Thanks for everything my friend!

Bobby Jones

April 23, 2021

My name is Bobby Jones. A 1962 grad of Central Heights High School. After my mother passed away in 1958 my life changed forever for the worst.I was a mad bitter don't care kinda kid. I wanted to quit school. Coach Johnston would have non of it !!He should have just put me out and let me go. That was not Coach. Basketball was about all I cared about, He used the gotta pass to play ploy. His wisdom and patient and quiet kindness saw me thru.I will be forever grateful for that great man. Hope to see him again one day, RIP Coach. You were truly a good and faithful servant--bj

Bill Stewart

April 23, 2021

I was a troubled kid who played Basketball at CHHS. ( 1964-66) He impacted my life greatly as a Coach and mentor. I became a Christian in April of my Senior year , 1966. Thanks Coach for impacting my life for eternity! I love you!

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