George was the firstborn to the union of Theresa Hinton and George Raymond Johnston Sr., at age three George was blessed by his exposure to education at an earlier age than his peers as he sat directly beside a recognized educator, our Great Aunt Georgie who taught the school curriculum. This uniquely educated child, George Raymond Johnston Jr. graduated from Linden McKinley High School in Columbus Ohio, and subsequently attended The Ohio State University. While attending OSU, George was offered an athletic scholarship to Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona; where he played College football until an Achilles tendon injury sidelined George, but it would not extinguish his determination to excel! George later returned to Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University as he was determined to be a standout in life.
In 1962, George entered into Officer Training, which he successfully completed for the United States Air Force, where he served as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was stationed in San Antonio, Texas at Lackland Air Force Base, and at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona. George was offered the Military Occupational Station of helicopter pilot in Vietnam, which he ultimately declined, and returned to college for additional training. George met his first wife, Margie Lee Cooper, at a college dance and they were eventually married in 1963. From this union, God blessed them with their only son George Raymond Johnston III.
Next, George entered the open job market for the first time and went to work for the US Postal Service. However, he hated the job and quickly transferred his expertise to another opportunity working for Westinghouse. Then, in a strategic maneuver to advance himself and his family, George went to work in a Managerial capacity for the renowned industry leader IBM (Integrated Business Machines).
Like everything in George’s life, things just continued to improve due to his intellect, focus, and a courage which was ahead of its time. Seeking new entrepreneurial endeavors, George and his partner Frank opened the financial institution that would become the largest Black-owned brokerage firm in America, aptly named after the owners: George Johnston; and Frank Frye. After feeling as though he had accomplished all that a strong man could conceive, George was hired by the University of Colorado as a “Grant Administrator”, for which he was recognized and rewarded by receiving the “Director’s Award” for outstanding performance.
George improved his life to the ultimate extent when he met a striking beauty wearing a white silk dress. It was August 2002, and Renee was out celebrating with friends when George confidently approached the stunning lady in white who would one day become his forever wife. After a whirlwind romance, George & Renee would be married amongst friends and family on the island of St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands a tropical paradise. With God‘s grace and mercy, George and Renee went on to build a loving and welcoming home, shared with family, great people, and lifelong friends. With his charm, quick wit, and great smile, it wasn’t long before George built unique lifelong bonds with: Renee’s son; Renee’s mother Gussie Robinson; granddaughter; siblings; and other family members.
He was loved and respected by all.
Showing their unique flare for entertaining, George & Renee often hosted holiday gatherings, happy hours, and world-famous barbecues showcasing George’s exceptional skills on the grill. However, not to diminish their barbeques, they also hosted an annual and infamous “turkey frying” event at Thanksgiving for “the boys”. It was always known by everyone that George & Renee’s parties were epic. Their love for traveling together has taken them out of the country on numerous occasions including their beautiful destination wedding. Most often they would spend New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas with their “California Cousins”, which was indeed planned for this upcoming New Year’s Eve.”
George would finally retire from UC Health in December of 2016, with his lovely wife Renee following him into retirement from CDPH&E in 2018. Their final trip together was in September of this year, to California spending quality time with family and celebrating their young nephew’s birthday party. George always had a wonderfully interesting story to share with family, friends, and all those that he met along the way.
Knowledgeable, well-versed, well-read, and through his own life experiences, George shared in the family dynamic of meeting the challenges facing our youth today by building and nurturing special relationships with several of the younger family members. One of the fondest memories of George is his running up-and-down football fields refereeing games for the Police Athletic League (PAL) Organization, where George Jr., and his son George III, both worked part-time for more than 15 years. They helped to shape, influence, and umpire as mentors to sometimes troubled children. George was generous, kind, and always eager to extend a helping hand.
Some of the Fondest Memories are shared by George’s only surviving sibling Mary stating: “George was an intelligent and knowledgeable individual with an understanding of many different facts about the world, or a particular subject. As a teenager, George loved to dance and would often have dance competitions with his sister Bernice; and in-depth debates with his sister Shirley; he gave guidance to his brother Patrick on manhood issues and exhibited his eldest bossiness to his youngest Sister Mary, whom he would often send to the store for Kool-Aid, and then not give her any. George loved and protected all of his siblings. As an adult, it was not unusual for George and his siblings to gather at their maternal Grandmother’s residence on Saturday mornings to eat her cooking, play cards, and have many conversations well into the night.
George was preceded in death by his: parents; sisters; Bernice Lisath/Phipps; Shirley Johnston; and his brother, Patrick Johnston. George Raymond Johnston Jr., departed this life on December 5, 2023, in Aurora, Colorado. Those left to cherish his memories and morn his loss include his wife, Renee; sons, George Raymond Johnston, III and James B. Hampton III; Granddaughters: Anastasia Brittany Camille Johnston; Asia Branee Hampton; along with a host of others including in-laws; nieces; nephews; cousins; and friends.