ST. PAUL, Minn. | Michael Haynes Johnston passed away Jan. 4, 2019, at Our Lady of Peace Hospice in St. Paul, after a long struggle with cancer.
Michael is survived by his five brothers and two sisters: Tom Johnston (Juanita), Aurora, CO, Dan Johnston, Rapid City, SD, Patricia Wellinger (Tom), Chesterfield, MO, Matthew Johnston, Minneapolis, Timothy Johnston (Kristi), Naperville, IL, Greg Johnston (Diane), Edmond, OK, and Jane Crompton (Dave), St. Paul, MN. He was preceded in death by his brother, Joseph (1984); his parents, Joan (1985) and Kelly (1987) Johnston; and a niece, Michelle Johnston (2012).
Born Nov. 15, 1949, in Rapid City, SD, Mike attended Cathedral Grade School and Cathedral High School. He was very active in sports and greatly enjoyed playing football. Mike was the last student body president for the last graduating class of Cathedral High School. In his college years, he attended SDSM&T for a few years before moving to California. He earned a civil engineering degree from Chico State University in 1978 and returned to SDSM&T to obtain a degree in geological engineering. Subsequently, Mike was employed at Homestake Mining Company in the Exploration Division and he resided above Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood.
Michael also achieved a teaching degree at Black Hills State and taught briefly on Rosebud Indian Reservation. He returned to Rapid City and was employed by the SD Department of Transportation, where he supervised construction of numerous projects, including parts of Deadwood Avenue, Highway 79 and I-90. After retirement, he pursued travels to Australia, where he established strong friendships. His Australian friends then traveled to SD to visit and stay with Mike as they explored the Black Hills and Badlands.
Mike enjoyed many outdoor adventures such as camping, fishing, fossil hunting, and surfing. Mike was an avid reader and writer, as well as a lover of history, music and art. A talented artist, he painted with water colors, sketched and sculpted. Mike developed close friendships with other South Dakota artists and their families.
Some of his favorite challenges included doing the New York Times crossword puzzles and playing Scrabble. He especially loved competing in games around the campfire for the past 30 years at the Johnston Family Reunions. Michael was a loyal fan of the Denver Broncos. He also co-authored an online book, Stonehenge Unhinged, with his brother Dan.
Even though Mike was a lifelong bachelor and did not have any children of his own, he was a big presence in the lives of his 22 nieces and nephews and 16 grandnieces and grandnephews. He wasn’t just an uncle you would see on holidays but was a part of their daily lives, helping with homework, watching television with them, telling stories, making dinner, asking how their days went and really listening to their answers.
Mike was always very generous with his family members. He was greatly loved by his family and friends and will be sorely missed.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for Mike on Friday, Jan. 25, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 1079 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105.
A memorial service will be held on July 22, at Palmer Gulch Mount Rushmore KOA during the Johnston Family Reunion.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Michael’s name may be sent to Our Lady of Peace Hospice, 2076 St. Anthony Ave., St. Paul, MN, 55104 (ourladyofpeacemn.org).