Mary Elizabeth Johnstone
June 24, 1926 – November 18, 2019
Of Orleans, MA. Mary Elizabeth Johnstone (nee Dorman) died peacefully at home in hospice care, early on the morning of November 18, 2019 after battling Congestive Heart Failure for three weeks. She was born to the late Wyatt and Jessie Dorman in Memphis, TN on June 24, 1926. At the age of 17, Mary Elizabeth won the Memphis, city-wide competition of Miss Victory of 1943. Her picture with a caption of “Good Luck, Hurry Home” was pasted in 1,000 magazines that were distributed by the Memphis Junior Chamber of Commerce to a unit of the Armed Forces. She soon received many letters from all over the country from the servicemen. During her mid-teens, she was a member of the dancers in the “MOAT” – Memphis Open Air Theater, which produced musicals every summer on an outdoor stage. She met her future husband, Carl Johnstone, one of the singers in the MOAT productions, during these musicals. When Carl, then twenty-two, found out she was fourteen, he told her parents to hold onto her till she grew up so he could marry her. Four years later, during his WWII service, they married in March of 1945. She and Carl lived in Calhoun City, MS for the first few years of their marriage. Her two children, Vicki and Don, were born during this time. In 1952, the family moved to Longview, TX. While in Texas, Mary Elizabeth’s love of dancing led her to participate in several local theater productions of musicals like Oklahoma and South Pacific. She also was an avid amateur golfer and bridge player during those years. During one of her golf outings, Carl and some business acquaintances were lunching in the 19th Hole Restaurant that had views of the 18th hole. One of the men remarked to Carl that there was a crazy kid on the 18th green, playing in 29 degree weather. Carl looked out and said, “I believe that’s my wife”! In 1968, Mary Elizabeth and Carl returned to Memphis, where they lived for 42 years. After visiting their daughter on Cape Cod, MA for many years, they moved from Memphis to Orleans, MA in 2010. Mary Elizabeth, along with Carl, were active members of both the First Baptist Church of Longview and the Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, particularly in the choirs of both churches. Although she did not talk about it much, Mary Elizabeth’s faith was very important to her. During the Memphis years, many of the Bellevue Baptist Church services were filmed. After moving to Orleans, Mary Elizabeth found a TV station that showed religious services, and she was able to see herself and Carl in the choir on several of these tapings. Throughout her life, Mary Elizabeth drew people to her with her Southern hospitality, radiant smile and her inclusiveness. Her friends and remaining family will greatly miss her loving presence. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Vicki and Paul Longo of Orleans, and her nephew and his wife, Gary and Tracey Ford of Memphis, TN. She lost Carl, her devoted husband of 72 years, in 2017. Her son, Don preceded her in death in 1988. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands, 68 Route 134, South Dennis MA 02660. A viewing will be held from 3pm-4pm with a service beginning at 3:40pm on Saturday, November 23rd at Nickerson Funeral Home in Orleans. A private burial will take place at the National Cemetery in Bourne.
- Visitation Saturday, November 23, 2019
- Funeral Service Saturday, November 23, 2019
Mary Elizabeth Johnstone
Cindy & Reid Smith
November 22, 2019
We always loved stopping to see Mary Elizabeth & Carl on our travels north; they introduced us to our favorite Memphis BBQ place -- Corky's . After dinner, Carl & Mary Elizabeth would always follow us to our hotel to watch our children swim and to indulge them like their own grandchildren . Our painfully shy oldest son broke through his social anxiety to ask Carl & Mary Elizabeth for a ride in the back seat of their Cadillac. Naturally, the Johnstones obliged. Carl & Mary Elizabeth were the epitome of southern hospitality and genteel style. We miss them both, but know they rest in their Savior's arms, and one day, we will all be reunited for that BBQ banquet and eternal pool party.
November 21, 2019
Mary Elizabeth...the sweetest, most loving person I have ever known. She was my "Other Mother". I am joyous that she is with Jesus, Carl and Don, but sad for all of us. My heart is with you Vicki and Paul. Love, Janet
November 20, 2019
We are very sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing.
You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Joanne and Michael Laverdiere