Funeral services for Paul LeRoy Johnston, 78, Rural Lawrence, will be 2 p.m. Wed., Nov. 28, at Plymouth Congregational Church. Burial will follow at Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Douglas County, KS. Rev. Dr. Peter Luckey will officiate. He was born June 8, 1934 at home in rural Bartlett, KS. He died November 22, 2012 at home in rural Lawrence, KS. Between these dates he lived a full and productive life.
Paul attended grade school in Bartlett, KS. While growing up, he was a member of the Country Pals 4-H Club in Labette County. He was active in the livestock, leadership, and citizenship projects and was president of a state 4-H organization. Paul graduated from Labette County Community High School in Altamont, KS in 1952. After graduation he attended Coffeyville Community College and transferred to the University of Kansas to study engineering. While at KU, Paul joined several engineering organizations and was chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers his senior year. He married Evelyn Griffith, of rural Lawrence, on August 7, 1955 at the First United Methodist Church in Lawrence. She survives of the home.
Paul graduated from KU in January 1957 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. Upon graduation, the couple moved to Wichita, KS where he was employed as an engineer for Boeing Aircraft Company. They returned to Lawrence in 1958 when Paul was hired to teach in the Engineering Manufacturing Department at KU, a position he held until 1962. He later co-authored a chapter in the book “A History of the School of Engineering at the University of Kansas 1868-1988,” edited by James O. Maloney. Although no longer working at the University, Paul remained an avid Jayhawk fan his entire life. After leaving the University, he was employed by Farmland Industries as an engineer at Cooperative Farm Chemical Association in east Lawrence from 1962 until he retired in 1996.
Paul was a member of Plymouth Congregational Church for 51 years. During that time he served as Church School Superintendent for 5 years and was a member of the Board of Deacons and Board of Christian Education.
Paul enjoyed working with youth. For 15 years his summers were spent as a coach for various Little League Baseball teams. He traveled as a sponsor with the Lawrence High School band and orchestra on trips to Portland, OR; St. Louis, MO; and Washington, D.C. In addition, he was a 4-H leader for 20 years for the Four Leaf Clover 4-H Club in Douglas County. Paul served as a sponsor for the 4-H Citizenship Conference in Washington D.C. He received the Douglas County 4-H Family Award, the Friend of 4-H Award, and the Friend of the Fair Award. He served on the Douglas County Fair Board for 6 years as treasurer, vice-president, and president. His hobbies included leather tooling and woodworking projects.
Besides Paul’s wife, Evelyn, other survivors include his children Paula (husband David) Aiken, Mike (wife Julie), Merlin (wife Susan), Mark (wife Terra), and Penny (husband Clark) Eschliman. He has 11 grandchildren: Josh (Jennifer), Molly (Seth), Jake (Meghan), Micah, Katie, Jared, David (Makenzie), Douglas, Luke, Evan, and Carley; 3 step-grandchildren: Ron, Larry (Susan), and Gale; 3 great-grandchildren: Caroline, Wyatt, and Michaela; and 5 step great-grandchildren: David, Bry, Jacob, Kelly, and Jackson. He is also survived by a brother, Dale (Marlyn Kay) and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends Tues., Nov. 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home.
The family suggests memorials in his name to the Douglas County 4-H Foundation, in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana, Lawrence, KS. 66044.