Marilyn “Rae” Johnston

Marilyn Rachel “Rae” Johnston, age 79 of River Falls, WI, passed away August 22, 2018 at the Red Cedar Canyon in Hudson, WI, with her family by her side. Marilyn “Rae” was born July 7, 1939 in West Newton, PA to Edward and Harriet (Blackburn) Newlin. She graduated from Hersey High School, the Class of 1957. After High School, Rae furthered her education at Penn State University, becoming the first woman to obtain a Bachelors of Science in Dairy Science. She was united in marriage to Dr. Richard “Peery” Johnston Jr. on December 23, 1962. Their marriage was blessed with a daughter, Karen, and son, Brian. Rae lived out her life long passion in agriculture working as a Feed Mill Manager in River Falls and South St. Paul, and working in the Animal Science and Plant & Earth Science programs at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

Rae loved horses and gardening. She was very involved in the horse and dairy community, as well as the local garden club. She most delighted in maintaining over an acre of gardens, riding and caring for horses. Her involvement in the University brought many dear friends to her life. This demonstrated to her children the value of friendship as family. Rae was a loving mother and a great support to her children in 4H while they were growing up. She also appreciated her time with family and friends, and took great pleasure in bridge club and playing poker. Remaining active was important to Rae and she enjoyed her walks throughout River Falls. Rae was a longtime member of the United Methodist Church in River Falls.

Rae will remain in the hearts of her daughter, Karen Johnston of St. Paul, MN; son, Brian (Denise) Johnston of Milltown, WI; grandsons, Mitchell and Reese; granddaughter, RaeAnna; sister, Marsha Fortney of Harrisburg, PA; brother-in-law, Dr. J. Oneal Johnston of Cincinnati, OH; other relatives and dear friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Richard “Peery” Johnston; her parents; and brother-in-law, Bob Fortney.

A Celebration of Rae’s Life will take place 4:00 – 7:00 PM, with a Memorial Service at 7:00 PM Thursday, August 30, 2018 at O’Connell-Benedict Family Funeral Home, 225 S. Third St., River Falls. Private interment will take place at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.

A special thank you to St. Croix Hospice and Red Cedar Canyon – Cove for their loving care and friendship.


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