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Friends, community mourn Johnston

The death of former Brundidge resident Donald Johnston, Jr. on June 29, 2020, brought great sadness to all who knew him as a boy growing up in Brundidge and as the outstanding, generous and caring man he became.

Lawrence Bowden of Brundidge was a longtime friend of Johnston and his family.

“Donald Jr. was one of the finest individuals I have ever known, both as a young boy and as a man,” Bowden said. “There are so many superlatives that I could use to describe him but none of them would be adequate. Donald Jr. was just a good person. Even in all his successes, he never changed. He never wanted credit for himself but for those around him. He was always concerned about others and I’m sure he will be missed by all who knew and appreciated him and the many who loved him.’

Bowden said, although he was not around Johnston a lot over the last years, “I’m still gonna miss him.”

Johnson was a giant of a man, not only in stature but also in heart,” said Don Dickert, a longtime friend of Johnston and his family.

and also the chair of the  Brundidge Rotary Club’s scholarship program, of which Johnston was a strong supporter.

“This year our Rotary Club awarded nine scholarships. Four of the nine were funded by Don Jr.,” Dickert said. “He became impressed by the club’s scholarship program which began in 1994 with the establishment of two scholarships in memory of J. Ralph Dickert. In 1997, Don Jr. established the Harold Rodgers Memorial Scholarship and our club agreed to award it and administer it as we did our others.”

In 2002, Johnston added the Robert L. Godwin Memorial Scholarship and, in 2017, the Lawrence Bowden Honorary Scholarship and, in 2019, the S.D. Tatom Honorary Scholarship.”

“Don Jr.’s father died when he was a boy growing up in Brundidge,” Dickert said. “The men for whom these awards were named were very influential in his life and he wanted to express his gratitude to them and their families, He also wanted to see the Brundidge Rotary Club grow and prosper. He saw the scholarship awards as a way to help our Rotary Club, our community and our youth.”

Not only did Johnston, a Rotarian, provide funds for Brundidge Rotary Club scholarships, he and his family had supported scholarships at the Brundidge United Methodist Church.

Dickert said Johnston was also interested in businesses in Brundidge and whether they were prospering.

“Don was a great example of what community service is all about,” Dickert said. “He was very proud of his hometown and was a great ambassador for our city. He was a great family man and touched many lives in very positive ways. Don Jr. will be missed by me, our Rotary Club, our community and by all who knew him.”

Johnston was a graduate of Pike County High School and Auburn University. He spent 10 years in manufacturing, some of those years as plant manager of Doxsee Foods in Brundidge. He then spent 10 years in sales. The last 20 years of his career, Johnston was president and CEO of Boyd Brothers Transportation Corp. where he helped lead the company from a 40-truck operation to more than 1,000.