Merry Johnston


Merry Adams Johnston, Dickinson died on October 29, 2019. She was 85. Merryís celebration of life service will be 10 a.m., Saturday, November 9, 2019 at the First Congregational-United Church of Christ, Dickinson with Pastor Janel Kolar officiating. Interment will take place at the Dickinson Cemetery. A gathering of family and friends will be 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday at Ladbury Funeral Service with a time of prayer and remembrances at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at the church.

Merry was born May 8, 1934 to William J. and Irene (nee McMillen) Adams in Chicago, IL. Merry earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and a Masterís degree in Speech Pathology from Northwestern University. Merry was united in marriage with Donald H. Johnston on September 15, 1957.

Merry worked as a mechanical designer for William Adams Engineering. She was a radio personality for KNDC radio in Hettinger. Merry was a born teacher. She held a lifetime teaching certificate in North Dakota. Merry taught at Dickinson High School and two stints at Dickinson State University. Merry was a principal at Johnstonís, Inc., a beer wholesaler for 29 years. Merry was primarily the financial partner, although she was responsible for HR and inventory. The entire family wielded brooms, loaded trucks, and made sales calls.

Merry was a member of the First Congregational Church for more than fifty years. She served as the Church Moderator, choir member and occasional director, interim organist, filled the pulpit, and manned the candy table for the Church Bazaar. Merry was a member of Dickinson Rotary and served as President and as an Assistant District Governor for District 5580. She was a multiple Paul Harris Fellow. Merry was a member of the North Dakota Beer Wholesalers Association and the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Merry was elected to the Dickinson Public School Board. She was a long-time member of several chambers of commerce. She was honored as the first Business Person of the Year by the Dickinson Chamber and really enjoyed hosting Saturday Morning Coffee with the Legislators. She served on various committees for Dickinson United Way including Honorary Chairman. She was one of the organizers for the Dickinson Centennial. Merry was a member of the Minneshoshe Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, PEO, and Eastern Star. Merry was past President of the Dickinson Ladies Golf Association. She was President of the PTA, a Cub Scout Den Mother, and a Campfire Girls troop leader. She was a registered Parliamentarian.

Merry was a great supporter of the arts and athletics. She was an accomplished pianist, organist, and vocalist. She wrote and arranged music. She was an Angel of the DSU Theatre Department. She co-produced several Town and Gown musical productions to benefit the Theatre department. She and Don were contributors to the DSU Rodeo team. Merry was financially and very vocal in her support for Blue Hawk football.

Merry had a fully stamped passport and traveled to more than 40 countries throughout Europe, Northern Africa, and China.

Merry is survived by daughter Joy (William) Madison, son Joseph (Becky) Johnston, grandchildren Andrew Johnston and Adrianna Johnston, brother Douglas (Margaret) Adams, sisters-in-law Sheila Fisher and Donna Johnston. Merry was preceded in death by her husband Don, twin infant sons, parents William J. and Irene Adams, brother and sister-in-law William E. and Mary Louise Adams, in-laws Verna and Bud Anfinson, Gerald Johnston and Gene Fisher, and beloved Uncle and Aunt Joseph and Josephine Piccione.

Memorials are preferred to the First Congregational Church, UCC or Dickinson State University Foundation.

Celebration of Life Service at First Congregational-United Church of Christ, Dickinson Saturday, November 09, 2019 10 A.M.
Gathering of Family & Friends at Ladbury Funeral Service Friday, November 08, 2019 6 P.M. to 7 P.M.
Prayer & Remembrances at Ladbury Funeral Service Friday, November 08, 2019 7 P.M.


1133 I-94 Bus. Loop E | Dickinson, ND 58601 | Phone: (701) 264-7195 | Toll Free: 1-877-990-9116 | Fax: (701) 264-7196