CARIBOU and PORTLAND – Gary R. Johnston, 80, died December 13, 2021 at Portland. He was born in Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada on January 14, 1941 the son of Paul W. and Dorothy (Mollins) Johnston. Gary graduated from Madawaska High School in 1959 and attended the University of Maine where he earned his B.S., M. Ed., and C.A.S. degrees. He was a student athlete at both schools with an emphasis on basketball.
Upon graduating from U. Maine, he taught mathematics and was the high school principal at Potter Academy, and a supervising principal at both Searsport and Biddeford High Schools. In 1968, he assumed the position of Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Caribou. He retired as Supt. of schools in 1989 after 21 years, for a total of 26 years in Education.
He received several awards for his outstanding leadership from the Maine Principal’s Association, the Aroostook County Superintendent’s Association, and the Maine Superintendent’s Association. Gary was responsible for initiating new educational programming in Caribou such as: Vocational Education; Special Education; Adult Education; Bilingual Education; Summer School; and In-Service Teacher Education with College Credit. He felt strongly that the Caribou School Department, enjoyed a fine reputation because of the collective efforts of his entire staff.
In addition to being a Legislative Liaison for Aroostook Superintendents in Augusta, he worked to build school budgets which allowed for quality educational offerings while being affordable for the local taxpayer. An excellent example of such was his utilization of his maintenance staff to build the athletic addition, bus garage, high school library, and the Performing Arts Center at a much reduced cost of construction.
After retiring, he motorhomed throughout the United States for two years with his beloved wife, Urs. Thereafter, he spent his winters at Schalamar Creek Golf Community in Lakeland, Florida. He served several years as Liaison for Resident Golfers to Management with respect to policies and golf dues.
He will be sadly missed by his beloved wife, Ursula, and his daughter, Catherine Johnston, of Portland. He was predeceased by his parents, Robert W. and son, Scott G.
Friends may visit with the family Friday, December 17, 2021 at the Mockler Funeral Home, 24 Reservoir Street, Caribou, from 9am until time of services which will be held at 11am at the Parish of the Precious Blood Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Interment will be held in the spring at New Holy Rosary Catholic Cemetery.
Those who wish to contribute in memory of Gary may do so through the Gary and Ursula Johnston Scholarship Fund, c/o Caribou High School, 308 Sweden Street, Caribou, ME 04736.