Robert Johnston

Robert Johnston

October 20, 1952 October 12, 2020

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Obituary for Robert D. Johnston

Robert Daniel Johnston passed away at home on Monday, October 12, 2020 at the age of 67 surrounded by his family. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. He leaves behind his wife Elizabeth (Betsy) Johnston, neé Langdon, daughters Tara Langdon Johnston Reber and Elise Langdon Johnston, sister Susan Johnston, and granddaughter Lyla Elise Reber.

Bob was born on October 20, 1952 in Lindsay, Ontario where he was raised by his loving, late parents George and Beatrice (Jo) Johnston alongside his big sister Suzy. He often reflected on fond memories of his Canadian childhood, especially family trips to Lake Kashagawigamog, Ontario. The Johnston family moved to Long Island, NY in 1961, and Bob graduated from Walt Whitman High School in 1970.

Bob earned a B.A. in Psychology from Hobart College in 1974. There, he was an active member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. The years Bob spent at Hobart were some of his most cherished and the foundation for many enduring friendships. Until the very end, nothing could bring a smile to Bob’s face quite like his Hobart brothers.

In 1981, Bob married Betsy, the love of his life.

After earning his teaching certification from West Chester University, Bob became a teacher and coach at Manalapan High School in NJ in 1978. Bob’s unparalleled patience and sense of humor made him an excellent educator, and he eventually went on to earn a Master of Education (M.Ed) from Temple University in 1994.

Bob continued his career in education as the Adult Education Coordinator for Berks Career and Technology Center and, in 1998, transitioned to his role as Benefits Manager at East Penn Manufacturing Co. He continued his career at East Penn, surrounded by colleagues who became family, until his retirement in January of 2019. Through his role at East Penn, Bob became involved in the Lehigh Valley Business Coalition on Health Care, serving as Chairman from 2009 until 2019.

Ever a man to appreciate both ceremony and a good party, Bob served as the Commissioner of the Clam Bay Athletic Association (CBAA) from 2018-2020, he served as a founding Pigmeister for the annual Wyomissing Hills Block Party from 1989 until his death, and he entertained friends and neighbors at countless celebrations as DJ Bobby J (Wyo Hills’ premier No Request DJ).

In November 2019, Bob became Grampy to Lyla Elise Reber, born to daughter Tara and son-in-law Joseph Reber. Grampy and Lyla were the best of friends, and their bond provided him with hope and light during his unforgiving battle with cancer.

Given current guidelines for safe gatherings, Bob’s family will celebrate his life privately with plans for a public memorial service to be announced at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Helping Harvest (formerly known as the Greater Berks Food Bank). If you choose to do so, you can donate online at or mail a check to Helping Harvest, 117 Morgan Drive, Reading, PA 19608.

The Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc., West Reading, is assisting the Johnston family. Condolences may be expressed at

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M. Catherine Shearer

My condolences to all who were touched by Bob’s enduring grace, and the love he had for his family. I worked with Bob in the early 1980’s when we both worked for the Berks County Employment and Training Office. He will be sorely missed. My deepest sympathy to Betsy and family,
Cathy Shearer
Comment | Posted at 01:43pm via Condolence

Janet Stein

Sending my deepest condolences to your family. Was so sorry to hear about Bob’s passing. Bob was always a great person to work with at my time at East Penn. Rest In Peace Bob and may your lifelong memories be cherished forever.
Comment | Posted at 09:40am via Condolence

Penny Moldofsky

What a kind and wonderful man. He will be greatly missed. Penny (Aliza’s mom)
Comment | Posted at 08:24am via Condolence

Pieter van Hoeven

One of the true thought leaders and healthcare advocates for the people in the Lehigh Valley. Bob was always a true gentleman, I will miss his wit and kindness.
Comment | Posted at 08:19am via Condolence

Robert A. Bashore

I always considered Bob to be a good friend all the years we worked together at East Penn and I was crushed to hear the news of his illness so soon after his retirement. Bob fought hard through this, but now his pain is over. The pain for those who knew and loved him will last a long time and my heart goes out to all of you. Rest in Peace, Bob

Bob Bashore
Comment | Posted at 07:09am via Condolence

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This is why you should light a candle..

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