Lewis Johnston Obituary

Lewis Hallet Johnston
Lewis Hallet Johnston

August 23, 1922 - July 8, 2019
Born in Skagway, Alaska
Resided in Anchorage, Alaska


Surrounded by his children, Lewis Hallet "Hal" Johnston Jr., 96, died in his home on July 8, 2019.
Hal was a fourth-generation Alaskan, born in Skagway in 1922, of a family who arrived in the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897. He loved Alaska since his childhood in a small, former gold-rush town. Growing up he sold flowers and berries to tourists, went swimming in the Dewey Lakes and hunted goats with his brothers.
He attended the University of Alaska for a year, but left there to enlist in the army in 1942. The army discharged him when he was found to have tuberculosis, a disease he battled for eight years.
Hal was driving a taxi when he met the love of his life, Gertrude "Trudy" Smith. He was the first young man she met upon setting foot in Alaska. He drove her from the docks to her new job as a nurse at Skagway hospital; two years later they were married.
They moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where he worked at different blue-collar jobs while Trudy worked as a nurse. Hal and Trudy built their house in the Sand Lake area in 1957. At age 55, he retired as a teamster from Grocers' Wholesale, after which he and Trudy took several trips around the United States. Trudy was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1987, living her last years at the Pioneer Home. Hal struggled to take care of her until her death in 2004.
A true patriot, Hal loved America as the bastion of equality and democracy in the world. Hal was a self-educated visionary thinker, interested in social issues. He read widely, becoming a lifelong critic of capitalism. He advocated the rights of all people, irrespective of race or gender. He believed passionately in worker-owned businesses, with confidence in the intelligence of workers to organize a humane economy. As an environmentalist, Hal saw his beloved Alaska as the last best opportunity to preserve pristine natural areas. He was an active member of the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship since its inception in the 1950s. Hal was a gentle, wise and witty man, who loved peace and yearned for a better world.
Hal is survived by his sons, Dr. Harold Johnston (Sydney) and Rev. Britton Johnston (Danna Larson); and his daughter, Glenon Friedmann (Gary); grandchildren, Eric Johnston, Robin Tyson, Hanni Friedmann and Shelley Friedmann; and great grandchildren, Amelie Johnston, Sophie Johnston, Audrey Johnston, Jonna Tyson and Janie Tyson. He was preceded in death by his wife, Trudy; his parents, Lewis H. Johnston Sr. and Ethel Johnston; and his siblings, Haleen Ingalls, Rodney Johnston, Christine Simmons, Kenneth Johnston, Justine Beryl Johnson, Vernon Johnston and Margaret Polk.
A celebration of his life will be at the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2824 East 18th Avenue in Anchorage, 248-3737, on July 24, 2019, at 5:30 p.m.
Donations, in lieu of flowers, should be sent to: Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2824 East 18th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99502; or US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, 1904 Franklin Street, Ste 400, Oakland, CA 94612.

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