WILMINGTON — Charles Emerson Johnston, 88, passed away on February 7 at his home in Wilmington, NC.
Charles was born in Columbus Ohio to Ralph and Mary Johnston. Charles endeavored to live life to the fullest … and on his own terms, whenever possible. Anyone who knew Charles will agree that he was decisive, focused and goal oriented. Yet beneath his trademark bravado and sport coat was a kind and sensitive man who loved his country and passionately lived his life. An intellectual who enjoyed philosophical discussions and good literature, he eventually earned his GED and after realizing the value of a higher education, went on to obtain an associate degree at 37 and a bachelor’s degree at 43. These degrees, combined with his on-the-job experience, enabled him to climb the corporate ladder and travel the world.
Charles proudly served in two branches of the U.S. military: first as a machinist in the Air Force and then later as an officer in the Army. Analytical by nature, Charles enjoyed the technical problem solving necessary in the tool-and-die industry. His skill as a machinist led him to Carnation Company’s Can Division (later Silgan Holdings) where he honed his leadership abilities. After 37 years Charles retired as an Area Manager of Manufacturing. At his retirement party, he was thrilled to become a FOFWW (Faithful Old Fart With Watch).
Charles is survived by his wife, Valerie, who was the love of his life. Together they enjoyed scuba diving around the world, doting on Jamie (their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel), discussing books and entertaining friends. Charles was also an avid photographer, author, excellent cook and fitness enthusiast (80 is the new 50). One of biggest challenges that Charles tackled was writing his memoir “Driving Force: The X-Plus Factor To My Success”.
In addition to his wife Valerie, Charles leaves behind four children and three step children: Charles Johnston Jr., Kevin Johnston, Lisa Marlow (Robert), Anna Marie Johnston, Kirk Bruno (Keri), Stacey McCoy (Patrick) and Lisa Devlin (Deceased).
Charles wants to leave you with these final words, a sentiment that he embraced wholeheartedly: Live your life to the fullest because “Life, after all, is what you make of it”
A visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on February 15 at Coble Funeral Home in Wilmington, NC. A funeral service will be held at St. Therese with Father Thomas R. Davis officiating on February 16 at noon. Interment with Military Honors will follow at Oleander Gardens.