Cherry Blossoms

Gletta Irene Johnston

June 6, 1934 ~ September 7, 2020 (age 86)


Gleeta Irene Johnston passed into the loving arms of her lord on September 7th, 2020. Gleeta was the only child born to Elbert and Vera Barnes on June 6th, 1934 in Jefferson City Missouri and moved with her parents to Portland Oregon when she was two years old.

Gleeta’s parents divorced when she was quite young.  She lived with her father, Elbert, and assumed many of the household duties for which an older person would usually be responsible.  Gleeta graduated from Jefferson High School in Portland in 1952 and spent the year after high school graduation working for the Portland Journal newspaper.  The money she saved from working that year put her through her freshman year at the University of Oregon.  After her freshman year, her father could see that she was serious about getting a college education so helped contribute financially to getting her the rest of the way through school.  Gleeta was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and made many lifelong friends.  She graduated from the University of Oregon in spring of 1957 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education.

In Gleeta’s senior year of college she met and started dating a young man by the name of Randy  Powell who was just finishing his military commitment with the Air Force.  They dated for a year and a half before being married in August of 1957.   Gleeta started her elementary teaching career that fall and soon after had her first of three sons.  Brian was born in 1958, Brad followed in 1960 and then Bruce in 1962.  Between raising three boys, teaching school, and running a household, Gleeta was a busy young woman.   The Powell family took many vacations, camped, hiked and all the fun stuff families of the 1960’s did.  Gleeta and Randy separated and then divorced after 14 years of marriage.  For a time Gleeta found herself raising three boys and working full time as a teacher.  Those were tough times for her.

In the fall of 1970 Gleeta was introduced to a man by the name of Edward Johnston.  Ed was a good man and loved Gleeta deeply.  Gleeta and Ed married on June 3rd, 1972.  Gleeta, Ed and the boys moved from Portland to the Maple Valley Washington.  Ed was employed with the FAA.  Gleeta and Ed hosted many an FAA party of friends and good times.  Sailing on Ed’s 40 foot motor sailor in the Puget Sound and San Juan’s, skiing up at Snoqualmie Pass, and always taking in the boys sporting events (and there were many) were some of the things that kept the family busy.  After Ed retired from the FAA in 1985 Gleeta and Ed found more time to travel and see the world, which they did.  Some of their favorite trips were cruises to different parts of the world with their lifelong friends Ken and Gen Yott.  Ed passed away while on a cruise in the spring of 1998.

Gleeta kept busy after Ed’s passing.  She continued to travel on her own and with girlfriends to places like Norway, Australia and New Zealand.  She kept socially active as a member of the Red Hatters organization and attended Maple Valley Presbyterian Church regularly for many years.  She loved her big house on the hill above Highway 196th overlooking Shadow Lake.  The last few years of her life the big home at Shadow Lake became too much to care for.  She bought a home in the senior resident development Wilderness Villa and lived there for about two years before residing at Cedar Ridge Assisted Living care facility in Bonney Lake for the last year and a half.

Gleeta was a very warm, happy and generous woman who made many lasting friendships along her life’s journey.  She will be remembered by her children and grandchildren as a loving person that always put her family first; they will miss her very much.  Gleeta is survived by her sons Brian (Kathy) Powell, Brad (Virginia) Powell, Bruce (Debbie) Powell, her stepson Trig Johnston, and her granddaughters Amanda Powell and Ashley Powell.





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