Inez Johnston, age 84, of Waterford, VT, passed away New Year’s Day at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital after a lengthy illness.
Inez was born in the family farmhouse in Prairie Du Long Township in southern Illinois, the second child of August and Frieda (Bretsch) Schulz. In the early years of her life, during the latter part of the Great Depression, the farmhouse was without electricity or running water, and Inez and her sisters learned to appreciate hard work and frugality.
From grades 1-7, Inez attended a one room country schoolhouse, a walk of 2 ½ miles round trip. Most of those years she was the only child in her grade. Inez graduated in 1953 from New Athens High School in a somewhat larger class of 27. Upon high school graduation, she worked a local office job at the Auto Stove Works, where she remained for the next seven years.
In September of 1958, Inez met Airman First Class Robert S. Johnston, who was stationed at nearby Scott Air Force Base. After an almost two year, mostly long distance relationship, including Bob’s 13 month assignment in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (and a shoebox full of handwritten letters) they married on July 30, 1960.
Bob served 20 years in the military, so the farm girl from southern Illinois got to see some of the world, living consecutively in Nebraska, Texas, Washington, the Philippines, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Maryland and Italy. Upon Bob’s Air Force retirement in 1975, they returned to his Northeast Kingdom roots, purchasing their home in Waterford, where they remained for 45 years.
Being homeowners meant that Inez could finally tend her own vegetable garden every summer. She enjoyed her quiet life at home and found joy in the domestic lifestyle. Being a wife and mother were her priorities. However, when her daughters entered middle and high school, Inez began a 15 year career as office manager at Simpson Insurance Agency in Lyndonville. In their retirement, Inez and Bob enjoyed at least four cross-country road trips visiting various relatives and military friends.
Inez is survived by her husband of 59 years, Robert; her daughters Mary (Gregg) Miller of Pennsylvania and Susan (Chris Scott) of Lyndonville; granddaughters Brianna and Maya and great grandchildren Juelz “JJ” and Lydia, all of Pennsylvania; sisters Arlene Brandenburger and Myra Gonstal of Illinois and Irma Knettle of California; sister-in-law Paula Lewis of South Burlington; and several nieces and nephews.
Inez was predeceased by her parents, August and Frieda, and her infant daughter, Marian Joan, who was Mary’s twin.
The family would like to thank the multitude of caring providers at Kingdom Internal Medicine, Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, and Caledonia Home Health Care and Hospice, with a special thanks to all the kind and dedicated nurses.
A private graveside service will be held in the spring.
Memories and condolences may be shared at www.saylesfh.com.
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