Recommend Robert's obituary to your friends
Robert Johnston

Obituary of Robert Johnston

Robert G. Johnston was born October 11, 1939, at Baptist Hospital on Madison Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. He died on the 24th day of November 2020 in Jackson, Mississippi. His parents were Arthur Singleton Johnston, Jr., and Opal Griffin Johnston, both of whom predeceased him. Robert had two sisters, one older and one younger. The older sister, Peggy Jean Johnston Ross Cook, died on May 19, 2018, at Gainesville, Virginia. The younger sister, Opal Faye Johnston Osborne Fillers, of Knoxville, Tennessee, survives him. Robert’s maternal grandparents were Arlis Young Griffin and Minnie Delma Hardy Griffin, both now long deceased and both buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Memphis. His paternal grandparents were A. S Johnston and wife, Mattie Lou Simmons Johnston, also passed on for many years. They are buried at New Hope Methodist Church Cemetery in Tippah County, Mississippi. Robert was proud of his Tippah County roots. On August 12, 1961, Robert married Elizabeth Boone “Bettye” Knight at First Methodist Church in Pontotoc, Mississippi, who survives him. Their marriage produced two children, a son, Arthur Singleton Johnston, III, Clerk of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi (Beverly) and a daughter, Amy Nell Johnston Tarver, B.S., M.A., a public school teacher in Cleveland, Mississippi (Jeff). After graduating in May 1957, from Central High School in Memphis, in the fall of 1957, Robert enrolled at Mississippi State College, now Mississippi State University, where he continued his studies through his junior year. At what would have been his senior year, in September of 1960, Robert enrolled as a first-year law student at the Vanderbilt University School of Law. Upon completing the first year of law school and in August of 1961, Robert was awarded a B.A. degree from MSU with a major in government. Robert continued his law studies at Vanderbilt and in June of 1963, received an LL.B. degree from Vanderbilt. This degree was later upgraded to a J.D. degree, but he always preferred to say that he earned the LL.B. While at the Vanderbilt Law School, Robert was a justice of the Moot Court and, for one semester, was a presiding justice. In order to fulfill his obligation under the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1947, on August 18, 1963, Robert enlisted as an Airman Recruit (E-1) in the Reserve of the United States Navy at Millington Naval Air Station, Millington, Tennessee, where he served six months of active duty for training in the aviation rates and was promoted to Petty Officer 3rd class, E-4. On September 7, 1965, Robert was commissioned as a lieutenant, junior grade, special duty, law. He remained in the active naval reserves, the so-called “Weekend Warrior” program until September 1, 1993, when he was mandatorily retired as Captain (O-6) with a date of rank of February 1, 1983. He still held this appointment and rank at the time of his death. On May 10, 1965, Robert joined, as an associate, the law firm of Alexander, Feduccia & Alexander, Cleveland, Mississippi, in the general practice of law. In 1972, Robert and the late State Senator Wm. B. Alexander formed the firm of Alexander & Johnston, later Alexander, Johnston & Alexander, P.A. Robert remained with this firm in the general practice of law for more than 55 years until his death at which time he was the senior partner. In 1964, Robert was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Mississippi and all courts inferior thereunto. He became a member of the Bar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi in 1966. He was also licensed to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Eighth Circuits and in 1985 was admitted to practice before the United States Court of Military Appeals in Washington, D.C. He was particularly proud that on April 8, 1968, the Late Chief Justice of the United States, Honorable Earl Warren, swore Robert in as a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. He remained a member in good standing of the Bar of that Court until his death. In addition to his sister, Faye, wife Bettye, and children Arthur and Amy, Robert leaves a grandson, Joseph Griffin Tarver, and five granddaughters, Abby E. Johnston, Anna B. Johnston, Kathleen A. Tarver, Avery L. Johnston and Caroline A. Tarver, all of whom “salute” their beloved Captain. A funeral service will be held at 2:00 pm Monday, November 30, 2020 at St. Luke UMC in Cleveland, Mississippi with graveside service to follow in the North Cleveland Cemetery. Masks are required to attend service and social distancing will be observed. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to either St. Luke United Methodist Church, 1227 Deering Street, Cleveland, MS 38732; Manresa House of Retreats, P.O. Box 89, Convent, LA 70723; Vanderbilt Law School Annual Fund, 131 21st Avenue South Nashville, TN 37203-1181; or the United States Naval Institute 291 Wood Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21402.
Monday
30
November

Funeral Service

2:00 pm
Monday, November 30, 2020
St. Luke United Methodist Church
1227 Deering Street
Cleveland, Mississippi, United States
Monday
30
November

Graveside

2:45 pm
Monday, November 30, 2020
North Cleveland Cemetery.
N Bayou
Cleveland, Mississippi, United States