Cover photo for Charlene A. Johnstone's Obituary
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1944 Charlene 2020

Charlene A. Johnstone

April 26, 1944 — September 21, 2020

Visitation for Charlene Anne Johnstone (Char) nee Marsh (Dickerson) will be held Friday, September 25, 2020 at the Ahlgrim Family Funeral Home, 415 S. Buesching Road, Lake Zurich, from 11:00 am until the time of Prayers at 2:30 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 3:00 pm Friday at St. Francis de Sales Church, 33 S. Buesching Road, Lake Zurich. Strict Social Distancing measures will be respected. A Graveside Service will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at St. Michael the Archangel Cemetery in Palatine.

Charlene entered this life joyfully April 26, 1944 preceding her brother and sister – Ernie and Sue – a wonderful gift in these war years!! She was a trailblazer with a subtle peace, calm, & love of the Lord that manifested itself in how she treated others and her singular focus always on hospitality.

This constant theme was always apparent not only how singular was her focus was listening to others, reassuring a person they were the only one  that mattered at that exact moment but also in her ministry and attentiveness to details… from family and friends to nursing and ministry and many points in between.

Charlene graduated from Saint Francis Hospital nursing school In Evanston before beginning a 29 year run at Northwest Community Hospital that saw many peaks and valleys. As changes in medicine & nursing modernized so did Char’s love for Faith Family, Friends.

It was only natural after many years of beautiful relationships with many priests, deacons, nuns and laity that a prompting from her dear friend Fr. Richard Valker manifested itself in her attaining yet another certification from CTU (Catholic Theological Union) professionalizing her years of volunteer ministry as she became director of liturgy at Saint Francis de Sales in Lake Zurich. This blossomed under his successor Fr. Ron Gollatz  and blossomed maturing as she journeyed with dear friend and spiritual director Fr. Charles Becker and a close select few in ministry along the way …too numerous to name here but they know who they are!

Of course this memorial would not be complete without mention of her dear spouse friend and partner Frank Johnstone as the two of forged a path for their children founded Faith, Love for the Lord, reliance on our Blessed Mother and finally always turning to the angels and saints for guidance, wisdom, and comfort.

Their incredible focus on faith, family and friends was manifested in every trip, every journey every memory to places near and far with dear friends and family along the way…  most notably trips to Rome the Holy Land, annual Arizona trips, and as their son’s family and grandchildren moved to Michigan journeying back-and-forth whether it be to the woods or outside Detroit.

This final leg the 3 1/2 year journey as a suffering soul here on Earth for all of us was she was trying to recuperate from a 2017 bout with influenza B eventually proving to be a worthy adversary for this cancer survivor and having other ailments. It never dampened her Spirit, Faith and enthusiasm apparent in her love for visiting friends, reading, praying.

She’d often be seen watching the Food Network or still tearing our articles. It is worth noting it always a challenge as of late was that struggle not talking. Of all people!! That she would be the one to lose the capacity to speak was hardest but then again she had listened her whole life. Those who were dedicated visitors found themselves becoming so much better hearing whispers, reading lips and sneaking in occasional spoonful of yogurt or MnM past her trach.

Charlene is survived by her husband Frank (Francis E Jr), son Francis 3rd (Buzz), wife Jenifer and their 3 littles Mhairi, Francis Emmett IV, and Jacoby Andrew. Also cherished sister Sue Kerbs, beloved niece Kristin Moran and  her husband Mike and very special children Brannon AKA SuperBran and Ellory.

Forgive the family with lack of space here to mention those very special people who have journeyed with the Johnstones every step of the way in a different set of 29years walking in Faith after the passing of their son Andrew in a tragic accident in 1991. Truly everyone’s living witness to our Faith as so many have never forgotten Andrew as manifested by their actions and words, flowers and cards, prayers and more to Charlene, Frank, Buzz and the entire family and importantly EACH OTHER.

Charlene preceded in death by her beloved son Andrew Thomas  (1991),St. Viator class of 92; her mother Helen and her father Ernest;  mother in law to whom she was very close Eleanor Johnstone; sadly along with those who passed before her too from St Francis de Sales and elsewhere, too numerous name including many dear friends.

Oh How we will miss those eyes, that smile, and that joy and radiance manifested by her lovely sweet spirit!!

Memorials can be made to the St. VIATOR Andrew Thomas Johnstone memorial scholarship fund located in Arlington Heights Illinois.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charlene A. Johnstone, please visit our flower store.


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