Aug 18, 1923 - Oct 27, 2018
Bernice “Bea” Johnston, 95, devoted wife of Frank Johnston, Jr. for 61 years, mother of seven children, housewife, grandmother & great-grandmother, volunteer, realtor, & entrepreneur died Saturday, October 27, 2018. Bea was born August 18, 1923, in West New York, New Jersey. After taking the lead responsibility in raising their seven children, Bea ventured into the business world. First becoming a realtor, she then decided that Winston-Salem had such a great story to tell that she and two close friends, Peggy Cochrane & Nancy O’Brien, started Tour Guides, Incorporated to help share in telling the history of Winston-Salem. She ended her business career with 20+ years at Wachovia/Wells Fargo.
Bea was a tireless volunteer for Hospice, working over 20 years volunteering on the oncology floor at Forsyth Hospital. She and Frank also participated in crossing 52, a group that worked to address racial divisions in Winston-Salem.
She loved nothing better than entertaining, having as many as 30 parties between Thanksgiving and Christmas to keep all of her groups of friends in touch with one another. Among them, one group of friends she developed on her bus ride to and from work at Wachovia, affectionately referred to as “the bus people”.
Bea was an active member of Centenary United Methodist Church for most of her life in Winston-Salem. She was one of the original members of the Lynwood Avenue-Runnymede Road Lawn Tennis Association, an amazing group of loving neighbors that, among other things, hosted a wonderful Fourth of July Parade, a Back-to-School ice cream social for the combined neighborhoods, and more importantly, took loving care of each other through life’s trials and tribulations. She had a wonderful life.
Bea is survived by her seven children, Pattie, Jim, Bob, Frank III, Judy, John Mac, and Peter. Bea had the blessing of many grandchildren and even a few great grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to either Centenary Methodist Church or Arbor Acres – Arborview. Condolences may be made online at www.salemfh.com.
Sami Ousley Bills
What a beautiful and gracious lady! I have fond memories of Mrs. Johnston from my lifeguard days at Old Town Club, many years ago.
Heartfelt condolences to the family,
What a lady. For 25 years Bea was my neighbor and friend. Always gracious and kind. Her holiday parties and neighborhood events were the best as she worked to maintain the our connectedness. I will always treasure being one of her many 'Dearies'. She was the best.
I worked with Bea a number of years at Wachovia. She was a wonderful person. Still remember her having our little group over for lunch on several occasions. Special !
Sue Burkhart Poindexter
Bea and I go back to our Wachovia Services days. She was a perfect example of a real Christian who walked the walk radiating love, tolerance, inclusion, and acceptance. I have no memory of a time that she wasn't wearing an infectious smile or offering a bundle of optimism. Bea adored her family, her friends, and embraced life with amazing gusto. I will never forget her and will always love her. Prayers and peace to the family!
Betty Sessions and Carol Sessions Hefner
What a beautiful lady.
Sending our love and deepest sympathies.
Betty and Carol
Susan Ennis Spruill
Wow! What a lady and true friend. I knew Bea for many years and enjoyed going to her house for lunch with her Wachovia friends. She was always full of life and never seemed to have a bad day. She was truly "one of a kind" and will certainly be missed by anyone who knew her. May God give peace and wonderful memories to the family.
Karen Hancock Blackwelder
“Aunt Bea”, as she was affectionately called by many who were fortunate enough to know her, will always hold a special place in my heart. She was an example of a woman who cherished her friends and family by offering genuine kindness and compassion to everyone. My heartfelt sympathy and love to her family. We thank you, Aunt Bea, for being our loyal and true friend.
Karen Hancock Blackwelder
What a WONDERFUL lady!! I worked with Bea for several years at Wachovia Mortgage Company. For a few years she was my group leader. She was always kind and considerate, she could calm the most irate customers on the phone when the other c/s representatives could not!! Believe me I had to send a few to her!! She never lost her cool!! She had a soothing way of calming them down. Hard to do when the customer was notified that their mortgage payment was increasing!! I always enjoyed visiting her house during the Christmas season with fellow Wachovians! I always enjoyed having Frank there also. I always thought of her as such a classy lady. So sorry for your loss, her family is in my prayers.
I had the pleasure of knowing Bea through our Celebration Sunday School class at Centenary and her hosting a Bible study in her home a few years back. What a gracious, engaged, thoughtful person she was to me and all I saw her interact with. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family at this time. May her memory and goodness continue to be a blessing.
I am so sorry it has taken this long to send this but, I did not know she had passed until today. I remember Bea from Wachovia Bank. She was a very nice person. I was at one of those parties she had between Thanksgiving and Christmas. God Bless you all.
Brenda H Kulp
Bea was a special lady to everyone who knew her. She was a giving, kind, compassionate person who never met a stranger with a smile and cheerful attitude that could light a dark room. Brenda Kulp