Allegan County News & Union Enterprise

Obituary-John A. Johnston

John A. Johnston was born to Jack and Ginny Johnston on October 19, 1951. He was the middle child and only boy, with Pammie being the oldest and Bethany, the youngest.
 John began his K-12 education by walking across the street to Breton Downs Elementary and finished as a co-captain for the football and basketball teams at East Grand Rapids. John went on to college and graduated from MSU, making him a loyal, lifetime Sparty. While at MSU, he met Regina. They married in 1973 and had J.T. (Jessica), Chris (Amber), and Alissa (Tom).
 Before dogs became a big part of his life, John had horses. Two of his childhood horses were named Fire and Flame and were stabled at a family friend’s farm in Coopersville. As a teenager, John rode his horse to the Sparta Rodeo. And, for a short time, he made a living as a horse farrier.
 John grew restless as a successful plant manager at Munroe, Inc. and one day, he bought land in Watson and planted roots for his fledgling dog training business. To support his training business, John was also a guide out west for bird hunting groups. John lived by the virtues of honesty and trust. He believed character counts and once wrecked, a reputation is irreparable – as many of his training clients would learn first-hand when their dogs washed out.
John and Beth married in in 2003, making him a stepdad to Aaron (Ally) and Anna (Clarissa). They enjoyed travelling to Boston, Seattle, Ireland, and Germany.
But John’s most favorite place on earth were the prairie grasslands of North Dakota. Not only for his seasonal hunting trips for pheasants and ducks but also the simplicity, quietness, and gentle hills of the land attracted John year after year.
John started a breeding business of British Labs in 2004, and once traveled to Manchester, England to observe pedigrees for his breed lines. Up until the pandemic, he along with his wife, Beth, whelped over 100 pups that were sold across the United States.
Some of the best times were under the maple tree in the backyard when family and friends would come for cookouts, especially the grandkids: Flannery, Avery, Grady, Gerrit, Ellery, Kellan, Elise, Connor, Skylar, and Rory. He was a fierce protector of his family and a beloved role model. John cared for his family completely and wholeheartedly, wanting only for them to know how much they are loved.
Visitation will be at Gorden’s Funeral Home, Hopkins Chapel, on Thursday, March 24, 2022 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM and from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Friday, March 25, 2022 at 10:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Covenant House (, 461 Eighth Ave New York, NY 10001 or to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2036 20th Street, Allegan, MI 49010. Gorden Funeral Residence is assisting the family with arrangements.

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