Peter F. Johnston 1941-2024 • Atascadero News

Peter Furth Johnston, 83, of Paso Robles, CA, passed away peacefully at home on April 19, 2024. Born March 16, 1941 in Portland, Oregon, Pete spent his formative years in Southern California before charting a path that would impact many here on the Central Coast for the past 45 years.

Pete’s journey with his beloved wife, Jocelyn “Jolly” Johnston, began with a whirlwind romance. After meeting at his father’s car dealership, Pete was immediately fascinated. Six weeks later, he asked her to marry him, chasing her heart and charming her with his genuine affection and genuine spirit. Their marriage in September 1965 marked the beginning of a deep and lasting love, blessed with four children – Jocelyn Johnston-Slason, Suzanna Johnston, Sonjia Johnston Baer and Dr. Daniel Johnston – and further enriched by their husbands, Michael T. Slason, Derek Baer, ​​and Ekaterina Johnston, and their grandchildren, Hope Slason, Jocelyn Marie Brimage (Michael Brimage), Peter Slason, Michael Philip Slason, Rebecca Proulx (Evan Proulx), Patricia Slason, Sophia Baer and Sasha Baer, ​​and great-grandchildren, Chace Brimage, Waylon Slason, Anastasia Slason and Sawyer Slason. Family was a source of immense joy and pride for Pete, and his love for them was a guiding light in his life.

Professionally, Pete continued a family legacy as the third-generation owner of College Chevrolet in Claremont, California, a company founded by his grandfather that sold and serviced vehicles and assisted motorists with roadside assistance as a contracted AAA service provider. In 1979, Pete bought Fred Brieden Chevrolet and moved his family from Claremont to Paso Robles in 1980 to enjoy a better quality of life. He founded Pete Johnston Chevrolet and a few years later purchased Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac from Smith Leslie to form Pete Johnston General Motors. After selling the dealership in 2009, Pete remained a AAA service provider on the Central Coast, helping stranded motorists until he sold Pete Johnston Towing in 2022.

Pete’s dedication to service was second to none. A passionate leader, he served as President of the Paso Robles Rotary Club (1994-1995) and embodied their motto: “Service Above Self.” During his tenure, he helped pioneer the first annual Paso Robles Rotary Golf Tournament, a legacy now in its 30th year supporting important local youth charities. As president of NCI, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the independence and inclusion of adults with intellectual and physical disabilities, he mentored other board members, generously facilitated car purchases and sponsored NCI golf tournaments. These actions not only demonstrated his commitment to advocacy and community service, but also significantly expanded the organization’s reach and impact. Pete’s selfless dedication to improving the lives of others is not only a testament to his character, but an inspiration to us all.

As an aviation enthusiast, Pete has channeled his love of flying into serving others through his work with the Flying Samaritans. He led numerous missions to provide medical care to underserved communities in Mexico – a testament to his selflessness and dedication to humanitarian causes. Additionally, his dedication to the Estrella Warbirds Museum reflected his love of aviation history and community heritage.

Pete had a passion for vintage cars and enjoyed using these beloved vehicles to enrich local parades and community events, and share the joy of automotive history with others. To the delight of the community, his antique cars became a well-known and beloved part of local celebrations, driven by Pete, family and friends.

Pete’s generosity extended to every facet of community life, from supporting local sports teams to participating in educational initiatives. He was a proud supporter of 4H and FFA, often seen at local fairs supporting young participants.

Pete is also remembered for his incredible sense of humor; his ‘Peterisms’ brought laughter and levity wherever he went. His philosophy of life, deeply rooted in his actions and relationships, was beautifully summarized in his favorite text, John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give to you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Pete leaves behind a family and a community that saw him as a servant to others, friend, mentor and inspiration. His legacy of love, laughter and service continues to permeate the lives of those he touched.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on May 8, 2024 at the Christian Life Center in Paso Robles, CA, followed by graveside services at Templeton Cemetery and a garden reception. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Paso Rotary Services Inc., PO Box 3641, Paso Robles, CA 93447.