Paul was born in Grafton, ND May 30, 1951 to Morley and Marjorie (Flaten) Johnston of Crystal, ND. He was raised in Crystal and graduated high school from Valley Public School in 1969. He attended Lake Region Junior College in Devils Lake, ND where he took classes in Automotive Mechanics and graduated in 1971. He began work as an Automotive Machinist at Wilson Brothers, Inc in Grafton, ND and was employed there for 28 years. He later worked at Grafton Auto Electric until health issues forced his retirement in May of 2016. He married Helen Olson, Edinburg, ND April 13, 1973 (a Friday the 13th day, which turned out very well) in Sioux Falls, SD. Together they settled in Grafton and raised two sons, Scott and Ryan, of whom they are very proud.
Eddie was a perfectionist, and it seemed he could build or fix anything. He was well-known for his love of classic cars and locally famous for his knowledge. Every hot rod enthusiast in the area knew to call Eddie Johnston to answer any questions they had. Eddie of course, also had a hot rod of his own. A 1966 Chevy Impala, affectionately dubbed "The 66”. And on summer nights, if the sky was clear, and the conditions were just right, he might even take it for a cruise. With his family along for a ride, any trip in “The 66” would end with ice cream from West Side or Dairy Queen.
He also loved basketball and spent many hours teaching the game to his sons in the driveway. He supported them in their music, as well. Eddie loved to listen to his boys play their guitars and sing, and he became just as interested in recording techniques and equipment as they were. It truly didn't matter what his boys were into. If they were interested, so was he. Eddie took pride in becoming just as well versed as them in any hobby or activity they were involved in.
He loved his family and always told his sons that children were the meaning of life. He was a proud grandpa to Adaline, Riley, Kaylee, Samantha, and Alexis and took joy in watching them grow. When he couldn't see them in person, he stayed up to date by watching videos of their skating shows, recitals and other events. He never wanted to miss out on the important things. Eddie's patience, kindness and most of all his wisdom and guidance will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
He is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of almost 48 years, sons Scott (Leah) Lake Stevens, WA, Ryan (Kim Rost) Grafton, brother Harold (Julie) Crystal, ND, sisters Eleanor (Terry) Taylor Aurora, CO, Norma Dooley, Bismarck, ND, Mabel (Joe) Prushek, Crosby, MN, Jill Sibley, Fargo ND and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank Sheila Trontvet, FNP and the entire staff at Unity Medical Center for the care he has received throughout his illness, whether he was a hospital patient or being seen at the clinic. The care, kindness and respect to him and his family will never be forgotten. We would also like to thank Tamra Bauduin and Dr. Mangardich and staff of the Pulmonary Department at Altru in Grand Forks, and the YorHom staff for their delivering and training of supplies and machines.
Funeral services will be on Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 2:00 P.M. at the Tollefson Funeral Home of Grafton. A walk through visitation will be from 12:30 to 2:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Social distancing and face masks are required. The service will be recorded and a video will be posted to Eddie’s obituary on the Tollefson Funeral Home Website. Inurnment will be at Grafton Lutheran Cemetery in the spring.