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Special ed teacher was dedicated family man

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Raymond L. Johnston, 66, of Greensburg, died Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Excela Westmoreland Hospital, Greensburg.

Raymond Johnston's life melded his deep devotion to his family with an innate ability to educate, his family said.

He taught for 32 years in Greensburg Salem School District as a special education teacher, math specialist and elementary teacher, but his time outside of the classroom was focused on family.

“He spent all his time trying to make us comfortable and happy,” said his wife, Lynn Bertoluzzi Johnston. “He loved us dearly.”

Raymond L. Johnston, 66, of Greensburg, died on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, of complications from pneumonia in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital, Greensburg. He was born Dec. 29, 1946, in Latrobe, son of the late Dale and Ruth Johnston.

He served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, then graduated from California State Teachers College with a master's degree in education.

“He was really born a teacher,” his wife said. “He had a way with kids, and he was very gentle and kind, and really cared about the children he taught. ... He was very patient, very kind. He didn't lose his temper very often. He sat in the evenings and helped our children with their homework, retaught a lot of the stuff just to make sure that they did well in school.”

Mr. Johnston worked hard to maintain and expand the family's home as the family grew, according to his wife.

“He really was a family man and a homebody,” she said. “All our time was spent at home with the family. He took care of the house and grounds, he cut wood and cut grass, he built things, he remodeled and put a second floor on our house.”

And he made sure his children's activities were always family affairs.

“Our son and daughter were competitive ice skaters, and we spent many years devoted to the sport and getting them to and from an ice rink,” Lynn Johnston remembered. “It was always as a family, it wasn't that I took the children and he was at home. The four of us went to the ice rink all the time. The four of us went wherever they went.

“I don't know of any people that didn't like him,” his wife said. “His doctors liked him, his colleagues liked him, his students liked him. Of course, all of our family loves him. He put people before himself. If anybody needed help, he was there to help them.”

In addition to his parents, Mr. Johnston was preceded in death by his brother, Richard “Dick” Johnston; and his father- and mother-in-law, Florist and Sophia Bertoluzzi. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Ross M. Johnston and wife, Toni Bartone, of Pittsburgh, and Rachael S. Johnston of Greensburg; a brother, James W. Johnston and his wife, Cathy, of Ligonier; sisters-in-law Karen Lagally and husband, Herm, of Greensburg, Pam Endsley and husband, Jerry, of Colorado, and Hollis Ulaky and husband, Jim, of North Carolina; and brothers-in-law Keith Bertoluzzi and wife, Mary Jean, of Portersville and Rick Bertoluzzi and wife, Joan, of Colorado.

Family and friends will be received from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Kepple-Graft Funeral Home, 524 N. Main St., Greensburg. A service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday in the funeral home with the Rev. David Clemente officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to one's favorite charity.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913, or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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