Roger Matthew Johnston, 73, entered eternal rest with his Heavenly Father on October 28, 2020.
Born June 20, 1947 to Donald Curtis Johnston and Norma Elizabeth Johnston in Salina, Kansas, Roger was the first born of four sons. His name was lovingly given to him by his father, an Air Force Gunman and Captain during and after WWII, who vowed that upon surviving the war he would name his first son after the military radio communication, “Roger that, over”.
His father being active military, Roger’s family lived in countless different places throughout his upbringing, developing him into an adaptable, hardworking, and sharp young man. His parents were extraordinary people who sacrificed a great deal for freedom and family. All the best qualities that Roger developed stemmed from the radical love and genius of his parents, who fell in love in a fairy-tale-like story in New York City, and through hard work and determination, achieved the American Dream. Toward the end of his father’s military service, Roger’s dad was stationed in Vacaville, California. Vacaville became their beloved home base for the rest of his parent’s lives.
Roger and his three younger brothers grew up in such a loving home. His mother’s caring heart and his father’s wisdom molded him into a bright, kind, and confident young man. He carried out his parent’s family values all his life, who influenced him to work hard and live happily, believe in the greatness of unlocked human potential, and know the importance of having a family-centered life. He also developed a “direct line to God”, believing he was always connected to our Divine Creator. He had compassion for strangers and friends alike and a profound love for the outdoors and all of nature’s beauty.
Roger was very studious and was a proclaimed “life-long learner”. He graduated from Vacaville High School at the top of his class, and then attained a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley. Following in his Father’s path, Roger served as a Data Systems Operations Officer in the Air Force from 1968-1973, and was stationed in Laredo AFB where he achieved the rank of Captain. Supervising over 200 men with great pride and honor, his job required him to be a problem-solving leader and influencer who inspired enlisted personnel toward successful, well-planned missions.
Upon completion of his military service, his professional career developed further in the fields of finance, business, computer systems, and higher education. For 4 years, he worked for Elmer Fox, Westheimer & Co. CPA firm as a Staff Accountant and Management Consultant for Information Systems. He was a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Texas for many decades.
His life’s work began in January 1976, when his 45-year career at Laredo College commenced. Roger was primarily hired as a Computer Information Systems Instructor for the Data Processing Department, which is now the Computer Technology Department (CT). During this time, he served for 20 years as Department Chair, then Division Chair for the Business, Applied Accounting, Applied Business and CT Departments. He was the Committee Chairperson for the CT Advisory Board and a very active and valuable contributor in the Faculty Senate, serving on numerous committees, including the Finance Committee. Roger was a great student advocate and faculty spokesperson at LC Board meetings. He was a proud co-op instructor who helped place CT students with companies throughout the community, many of whom have led to top successful positions. For several years, he served as a sponsor for the CT Club and had students participate successfully in computer programming competitions at Tarleton State University, taking first and second places among other colleges and universities. Roger was a passionate teacher, a creative problem-solver, and exceptional faculty advocate. He dedicated his career to encouraging students and colleagues alike to reach their greatest potential, both professionally and in life. The impact of his professional contributions to LC, and that of his colleagues, truly elevated the CT Department for decades. He developed many of his life’s greatest friendships at Laredo College, and the relationships he had with his dear friends and colleagues will be forever treasured and celebrated.
Outside of Laredo College, Roger was a partner with the Saldaña and Johnston CPA firm, Vice President and Comptroller of Litho Business Forms Company, Adjunct Faculty of Laredo State University. He was Vice President and Comptroller of Players International, Inc. (Kikkers).
Roger’s greatest pride and joy in life was parenting his two children, John Ross Johnston and Erica Elizabeth Johnston. He was the most incredible Dad and lived every day of his life for the betterment of his children, whom he showered with unconditional love, care, and guidance. He had extremely close relationships with both John and Erica and was deeply gratified by watching them grow into good-hearted indivduals. He celebrated every accomplishment in their lives with great exultation. An insurmountable joy, too, came from becoming a grandfather to John and Margie’s children, Nina Janelle and Ian Bryan Johnston. His grandkids made his eyes flicker with limitless love and hope for the future.
Roger reconnected with the love of his life, Maria Isabel Robles-Johnston, and they married in 2014. They lived a happy and simple lifestyle, traveling, laughing, and enjoying all their blessings together. Roger loved spending time with Isabel and her family in Waco, Texas. He fell in love with the beautiful parks and trails in Waco, and they looked forward to moving there shortly after his retirement.
Roger was a life-long athlete, fitness enthusiast, and lover of nature. He pursued at least a dozen sports throughout his life, both competitively and for personal enrichment. As a young man, he became a Red Cross Certified Swimming Instructor and one of his first jobs was teaching children to swim at the Vacaville community pool. He ran cross-country, track, and loved to bike, hike, and explore nature trails. Most of his favorite places to go were in California (Lake Tahoe, Bodaga Bay, Peña Adobe, The Redwoods National Parks, Mount Tamalpais), many of which he visited since he was a child with his parents and brothers. He was a racquetball champion, placed at volleyball tournaments, and played tennis, baseball, basketball, ping pong, soccer, and more. For many years, he coached little league baseball and Laredo City league boys basketball.
In recent years, Roger expressed his gratitude to God for all his blessings while on his daily bicycle rides. Born and raised Catholic, Roger firmly believed in God and the importance of prayer. He lived a life of thanks, fully appreciating every moment and every aspect of life.
Roger was a beloved husband and father, a true family man, a loyal friend, and a brilliant mentor. His positive impact among those who knew him is undeniable, and echoes among his family and throughout our community. Countless loved ones remember him as the epitome of leadership, intelligence, excellence. He was an open source to all who sought advice or consolation of any kind. Roger genuinely loved helping people thrive and encouraged everyone to work hard and live happy. He is already deeply and greatly missed, but his legendary positive impact remains forever.
Eternal Rest grant unto Roger, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
Left to cherish his memory is his loving wife, Maria Isabel Robles-Johnston; children, John Ross (Margarita) Johnston, Erica Elizabeth Johnston; grandchildren, Nina Janelle Johnston, Ian Bryan Johnston; brothers, Donald (Diane) Johnston Jr., Eric (Suzan) Johnston, Wayne (Patricia) Johnston; stepson, Vicente Robles; brother-in-laws, Juan (Ortencia) Robles, Thomas Robles; nieces, nephews, and many beloved relatives and friends.
A visitation will be held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Gamez and Sons Funeral Home & Cremation Services where a rosary will be recited at 7:00 p.m.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, November 4, 2020, from the funeral home to San Agustin Catholic Church (Santa Monica Hall, directly next to San Agustin Cathedral due to renovations) where a funeral mass will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Funeral home doors open at 7:00 a.m. and a procession departs at 9:00 a.m. Military honors provided by the Laredo Veterans Honor Guard and United States Air Force will be held at the Laredo City Cemetery's Veteran's section immediately after the funeral mass.
Cremation will be held at a later date.
In accordance with city ordinance, the number of visitors will be limited to 50 percent occupancy capacity (90 people) at a time. Please feel free to wait in your vehicle for a turn. Similar or more stringent guidelines are likely applicable at the church and cemetery.