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In Memory of Thomas Johnston

Gathering of Family and Friends

3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Friday January 7, 2022
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
1010 Newton Street
Baldwin WI, 54002

Thomas William Johnston, age 81 of Burnsville, Minnesota, formerly of Roberts, Wisconsin, passed away December 27, 2021 at the M Health Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville. Tom was born on July 24, 1940 in River Falls, WI to Ralph and Irene (McCaustland) Johnston. He graduated from Roberts High School, and was united in marriage to Marietta Johnson on August 9, 1959 at the Roberts Congregational Church in Roberts, WI. The couple was blessed with six sons, Scott, Rodney, Mitchell, Mike, Ross, and Colin. Tom loved his family and enjoyed spending time with his sons. Tragedy struck the Johnston family with the death of four year-old son Ross in 1972. Tom worked in trade show sales and management for several companies including Control Data Corporation where he worked for 36 years. He went on to co-own Graham Marketing, another trade show company. Tom and Marietta enjoyed snowmobiling and were members of the Roberts Knight Riders Snowmobile Club. Tragedy again fell upon the family in 1994 when Marietta died in a snowmobile accident near Ontonagon, MI. Since, Tom and Diane Matheis, long time friends, have spent the last 20+ years supporting and looking after each other. Tom was very proud to be recognized in 2019 as one of 12 community builders by the mayor and city council of Burnsville for his years of dedicated service to the community. He will be missed by many.


Tom is survived by his sons, Scott, Rodney (Bonnie), Mitchell (Cheryl), Mike (Mia), and Colin (Amanda); his life partner, Diane Matheis; grandchildren, Tony, Brett, Jake (Alyssa), and Riley Johnston; Amanda (Kyle) Mallien, Andrea (Skylar Yacktus) Geppert; Michelle (Mike Lohmann) Lindus, Melinda (Brent) Mueller; Zac and Zoe Johnston; Madalyne, Isabella, Autumn, and Sawyer Johnston; great-grandchildren, Ryker, Callan, Marietta, Noah, Elijah, Addilyn, Maddox, Hailey, Bridget, and Octavia; Diane’s children, Justin Reiten, and Jamacy (Chris) McKinney; Diane’s grandchildren, Lincoln and Jack; his brother, Gary (Connie) Johnston; and many extended relatives and friends. He is preceded in death by his wife of 35 years, Marietta; son, Ross; and his parents, Ralph and Irene Johnston.


A gathering of family and friends to celebrate Tom’s life will be held from 3:00-6:00 p.m. on Friday, January 7, 2022 at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Baldwin, 1010 Newton St., Baldwin, WI. A private interment will be held at the Warren Cemetery in Roberts, WI. Memorials are preferred.

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Thomas's Tribute Wall

Tributes (5):

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    • TOM what an amazing friend to my parents, Cynthia and Dick Benolken and to all of us kids: Susan, Sarah, Amy, Katie (Paul), Anne (Todd) and Rick (Lori). And then to our kids.

      So many great memories at Big Birch Lake. Dance parties on the deck, illegal fireworks, tents everywhere, Marietta’s taco salad, cigar smoking, scotch drinking, kids running, swimming, boating, fishing (was anyone watching us?) and the never ending card games. Tom and Dick’s “hardware” runs (Elmers, Wooden Nickel, Linda Bs, the Mustang bar- some of their favorite hardware stores) were epic. They often insisted drivers once having Samantha (Dick’s granddaughter) age 13 drive them back from St. Rosa’s Wooden Nickel to the cabin from one of their “hardware” outings. There were just countless cabin shenanigans! Everyone always had a ton of fun.

      I remember on Christmas Eve Tom and Marietta would stop over at 1406 w California Ave (Dick and Cynthia’s house) after their Christmas shopping for a holiday drink (or two) of top shelf 😉Passport scotch. We loved the never ending laughs we all had around that kitchen table!
      Tom was my boss for years at Control Data and Graham Marketing. I have had many bosses since then but he was the very best. His office had stacks and stacks of client files from floor to ceiling, but he alway knew exactly where the client file was when you needed it. He always wanted the best for your success and was a mentor to help achieve it.

      I simply loved that man!

    • Bought my first roto-tiller from Tom in 1973. Used it about 3 years ago. Still in my shed. RIP Tom. Marietta’s mom and my dad were first cousins.

    • My heart breaks for all those who loved this very special man. I’ve had the pleasure of being in his presence beside his loving partner Diane and I will cherish the memory forever. Prayers and love to all who were touched by Tom.

    • So sad to hear of my Cousin Tom’s death . He was definitely one of my favorite cousins – son of my father’s brother Ralph and his wife Irene Johnston. His family lived just down across the garden and I usually took the short cut path through there on my way to school. He was 2 years ahead of me in school and he always called me “Cuz” and I was so proud that he was so nice to me in front of all the other big stars on the basketball team. I also loved going ice skating with him at the local rink across from their house, built and maintained by our dads, Bill and Ralph. I moved away from the area for about 17 years from 1967 until 1984, at which time my husband took a job in Minneapolis and we returned to the area. Then we were sure to take every opportunity to catch up with Tom and his family that we found. Tom was always so kind and so much fun and always had a big smile on his face. I will always think of him and his younger brother Gary when I think about our lives growing up together in Roberts.

    • So sorry to hear of Tom’s passing. He was a sweet guy. Tom (and Gary) were my cousins who lived just “down the hill” from us all through my school years. Then his son, Scott, bought our family home when my mom, Anne, was ready to leave the house for a small condo in New Richmond. Peace to his family at this sad time.