Eloris Delayne Johnston

Thursday, November 18, 2021
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Eloris Johnston, age 91, passed away on Nov. 10, 2021 at the McCone Nursing Home Facilities in Circle. Visitation will be held on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Richey Alliance Church in Richey. A funeral service will be held on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 at 11 a.m. at the Richey Alliance Church in Richey with Pastor Paul Sponheim officiating. Interment will follow the funeral service in the Richey Cemetery. Silha Funeral Home of Glendive has been entrusted with the arrangements.

Eloris Delayne (Will) Johnston was born on April 24, 1930 in Wishek, N.D., a daughter of William and Amelia (Koth) Will. She was the 5th child of 13 born to this union. Laura was delivered by a midwife at 8 p.m. and weighed 7 pounds. She had brown hair and eyes that turned brown. Her education took her through the 8th grade in Burnstad, N.D. where they either walked or rode horse two miles to and from school.

Her older sister Lucy remembered Laura having a ruptured appendix when she was a young child. She had to ride in a horse and buggy to Burnstad, N.D., where they caught the train and traveled to Bismarck. An ambulance was waiting for them and took them to the hospital! That had to be a bumpy and painful ride. Because of this medical emergency Laura was unable to retain all of her teeth and needed dentures for the remainder of her life.

Daily lives of the siblings were filled with many adventures and of course farm chores which included the twice daily milking of the cows. The family survived on the cream, butter and milk from the cows, however one story was that their cousin came over for a visit and helped with the chores. She remembers that Amelia, her mom, was disappointed with the lack of milk that had made it to the house! It sounds like there were flies in the milk barn and they were being shot at to see who could hit them the most! There was milk all over inside and William was not impressed!

The family farmed in the Wishek area until 1946, and then William moved the family to Richey looking for a better life for them planning to farm. He ended up working in the PV elevator. Laura would work in the cafes in Richey to help with family expenses. She met Dave Johnston and they were married on Feb. 25, 1948 at the Presserville Baptist Church in Vida. To this union five children were born, Garald, Gregory, Myron, Maureen and Marlin.

Laura had her hands full especially with four boys, but gently and tenderly adored her one daughter. Together they were a force on Saturdays cleaning the house and preparing food for her family for the upcoming week. All the while teaching life lessons and compassion to her.

Laura was a faithful, loving and loyal wife, mother and grandmother. She loved caring for her family and making them happy with her cooking. Favorite dishes that her children and grandchildren enjoyed were borscht, dumplings with egg gravy, buttons, kuchen and raisin filled cookies.

Life on the family farm was hard work for all. Long days not only for the older ones but also for the young as well. Mom was always right beside us picking rock on freshly broken fields on warm days. She learned to operate the JD 6600 and 7700 combines so the work went faster and also, most importantly, to give one of the kids a break when she thought we had worked enough. She also ran the 4010 and 5010 JD tractors and toolbar. Alot of the grandkids remember riding with Grandma in the combine, with her feet up against the front window, lunch buckets for each one and teaching many of them how to operate it.

She always had a large garden and canned much of the produce. Many of her grandchildren remember riding with Grandma to Williston each spring to pick up baby chicks and later each summer was spent butchering the chickens.

No one will ever know how many buckets of milk Mom carried from the barn to the house. She never complained! At times there were 12 to 20 head of cows to milk. She would put the youngest in a five gallon bucket to watch while she milked. The older boys helped with the milking all through school.

Crocheting, embroidery, and hardanger were pastimes, but in reality, they were pieces of art and treasures her children and grandchildren were blessed to receive.

Laura loved attending her children and grandchildren’s basketball, football and volleyball games and was an avid fan. Long trips were shortened by her handiwork in a suitcase.

She loved and prayed for her family and enjoyed hugging her grandchildren, especially the babies, she just wanted to “squish ‘em”. She cared deeply for her children and grandchildren. She would console them and make them feel loved whenever she was around them with a smile on her face. She’d put the little ones on her knees and then “wash the clothes” or bounce them on her knees singing “I love you a bushel and a peck”. It’s a fact that not only her voice and hugs were consoling but grandchildren will not forget how soft and warm the touch of grandma’s hands were. Was comforting to those little hands to have her warm soft hand holding theirs.

When there was a sleepover at grandma’s there was always a book and Bible verse about God shared with them at bedtime. She was just making sure that she will see you in heaven again!

Laura had a kind special heart and soul. Everyone who met her took away a sense of friendship, love and camaraderie. Her wit and ability to hold her own in conversations was impeccable!

Where do we fit time for entertainment in! The electronic age was not here yet, board games were the choice for Laura that she loved to play. Not only with her grandkids but also with her husband, her parents and friends. Dice Mill, (Aggrivation), with a homemade board and some old buttons, was passed down from her parents which her dad claims to have made up for her siblings to keep them entertained and quiet.

Laura would, in her own way, take you and use the game as a form of therapy to sooth your soul. Just take your mind off of the problems of the world for a short time and refuel your inner self. Whether it was Dice Mill, Skipbo, Crosswords, or Uno, none of which were a prescription by a doctor but had some spiritual healing that only she knew. Willing to play whenever someone wanted to, especially her grandchildren.

She was a member of the Richey Alliance Church and faithfully attended Alliance Women’s meetings and enjoyed attending Ladies Retreats in the spring and fall. Mom was always teaching the way of Scriptures through her actions.

Laura was always very active and enjoyed living on the farm, but the body she was blessed with was burdened with health issues that eventually took her away from us. She was a fighter, but went to the McCone County Hospital in 2012 when Dave was admitted due to deteriorating health. After Dad passed away in Aug. of 2012, she resided at the McCone County Nursing Home where she received exceptional care allowing her to bless us with her presence until her passing.

Eloris was preceded in death by her parents, William and Amelia Will; brothers, Victor, Dave, Earl, Harley, infant brother, and Arden Will; sisters, Lavina Mitzel, Lucile McDaniel, infant sister, and Leona Westman, also great granddaughter, Shelby Sedgwick.

Survivors include her children, Garald D. (Barbara) Johnston of Winifred, Gregory W. (Susan) Johnston of Lewistown, Myron A. (Barbara) Johnston of Richey, Maureen E. (Don) Buller of Kalispell, and Marlin W. (Aurilla) Johnston of Richey; seventeen grandchildren, Garald Jr., Garett, Gavin & Kristin, BranDee, Angela & Perry, Eric, Bobbi, Marci & Laci, Rocky & Rusty, Miranda, DeLayne, Alysia & Shaye, thirty four great grandchildren, and one great great granddaughter; siblings, Harold Will of Great Falls and Dyann McCrory of Plentywood; sister-in-laws Pat Will of Wolf Point, Carla Will of Hardin, Beverly Johnston of Poplar, and Ella Anderson of Seneca, S.C., and brother-in-law Harold Hoffman of Richey and numerous nieces and nephews.