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News Article

Mary Virginia Johnston,

Mary Virginia Johnston,
Mary Virginia Johnston,
- November 24, 2017

Mary Virginia Johnston, age 87, of Belvidere, died Thursday, November 23, 2017, at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip.

Visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. Sunday, November 26, at the Rush Funeral Chapel in Kadoka.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday, November 27, at the Belvidere Community Church in Belvidere, with Pastor Gary McCubbin officiating.

Interment will be at the Belvidere Cemetery.

A memorial has been established.

Mary Virginia McIalwain was born July 30, 1930, in Estherville, Iowa, the daughter of Claude and Hattie (Gentry) McIalwain.  She grew up in Estherville and graduated from Roosevelt High School in Estherville, where she played basketball throughout her high school years.  She went to work at various jobs in the Estherville area prior to moving with her parents to Ogilvie, Minnesota, where she continued to work.

After writing letters back and forth for over a year, Mary was united in marriage to Lester M. Johnston on May 5, 1951, in Milaca, Minnesota.   They spent their honeymoon in St. Peter, Minnesota, and Lester kept the receipt of their hotel bill in his billfold until the day that he died.  One of many signs of true love shared between Mary and Lester.  

After their marriage, they worked for Lester’s dad and lived south of Kadoka from 1951 to 1955.  In 1955 they purchased the Charlie Owens Ranch north of Belvidere, where they remained throughout their married life.  Her husband Lester preceded her in death on September 8, 1997. 

Mary continued to reside on the ranch, and was a member of the Belvidere Community Church, serving as an elder and deacon at various times, along with teaching released time for many years.  Throughout her life, Mary enjoyed riding horses, working cattle, and helping with combining and hauling grain.  She especially enjoyed her grandkids and great-grandkids.

Survivors include two sons Larry Johnston and his wife Jo of Belvidere, and Lonny Johnston and his wife Carrie of Belvidere; nine grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; two brothers Darrel (Edith) McIalwain of Ogilvie, Minnesota, and Troy (Colleen) Nelson of Sandstone, Minnesota; two sisters Lela Kruse of Milaca, Minnesota, and Jenene Barbknetch of Waseca, Minnesota; a brother-in-law Lloyd Johnston and his wife Terri of Kadoka; a sister-in-law Norma Jean Hopkins of Kadoka; and a host of other relatives and friends.

In addition to her husband Lester, Mary was preceded in death by a daughter Cindy Lou Johnston; and a sister Sharon Stigen.


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