John Tally (Tad) Johnston, Jr. died on September 6, 2020, after a battle with Parkinson’s disease. Tad was born July 26, 1934 in Chattanooga to the late Jessie Lee McDowell and J. Tally Johnston, Sr.
Tad is survived by Gin (Virginia Johnson), his high school sweetheart and loving wife of 64 years; their two sons Tripp (J. Tally III) and Tory (James Thornhill) in whom he delighted throughout their every age and stage. He loved their wives Alison and Jan like his own daughters.
He is also survived by 6 adored grandchildren and their spouses: Morgan and Sven Eriksen; Barrett and Becca Johnston; Anna and Seth Jensen; Hill and Virginia Johnston; Ben and Mary Beth Johnston; Jan and Spencer Owen; and 5 great grandchildren whose little hearts have big love for their doting “Gramp”; Nathan, Cole, Paige, Emmy and Ginny.
Raised in Shepherd Hills, Tad attended Bright School, McCallie School, Georgia Tech and the University of Chattanooga. At 24, after spending two years as foreman of the 2nd shift at Chattanooga’s Davenport Hosiery Mills, Tad accepted a job as plant manager of a hosiery company in Anaheim, CA. Having never been west of the Mississippi, he and his wife Gin set out in their 1956 Ford Fairlane wedding present eager to learn all that living and working 3,000 miles away from family, friends and home can teach.
And many were the lessons. He worked hard to expand his business knowledge, personnel responsibilities and managerial effectiveness. After five good years in California, Tad accepted a job offer back in Chattanooga where he worked the next 28 years with Chubb Life America (formerly Volunteer State Life Insurance Company) before taking early retirement as Vice President of Human Resources and Facilities. Two weeks later he was employed by American National Bank as Vice-President and Manager of Facilities, a dream job of refurbishing old beautiful facilities and building handsome new ones, until his second retirement eight years later. He considered his many years of volunteer service as special opportunities to contribute to all the good things going on for others in the Chattanooga community. Tad will be best remembered for the heart-felt ways in which he related to others – with interest, appreciation and kindness.
He prized … family fun, classical music, old-timey hymns, Georgia Tech football (if they won), his forever friends, the family vacation home in Magnolia Springs, AL, Cajun gumbo with a cold beer, precious memories, and First-Centenary United Methodist Church, where he grew up, worshipped, studied and served all of his life. And oh how he loved the Lord and trusted His promises.
Thus says the Lord, “Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35.
Tad has passed on to Higher Service. He will be greatly missed.
The family deeply appreciates all the healthcare workers who cared for Tad and the friends who cared in so many ways during this time.
Due to COVID restrictions, there will be a family only service in the Memorial Garden at First Centenary United Methodist Church.
For those who wish to make a memorial contribution, the family suggests a charity of personal choice, or First Centenary United Methodist Church (419 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37402), or SIM (P.O. Box 7900, Charlotte, NC 28241 – gift noted for Sports Friends # 99803).
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