Silas George Johnston, 65, son of Jason and Ollie Smith Johnston, was born Nov. 19, 1936, in Douglas County. He died Aug. 30, 2002, at Lester E. Cox Medical Center South in Springfield follow-ing a long illness. He grew up in Douglas County and married Phyllis Raney Jan. 25, 1958, at the Oak Grove Free Will Baptist Church north of Norwood. The Rev. Leland Horton performed the ceremony. The Johnstons had three children. Mr. Johnston lived in St. Louis for a few years, where he worked for Chrysler Corp. He later moved to Ohio, where he worked for General Motors and Campbell Soup Co. Ill health forced his retirement in the early ’70s and he moved his family to Mountain Grove in 1972. Mr. Johnston was an accom-plished musician and played several instruments. He played many years with the Highland Ramblers, the No. 1 bluegrass group in Ohio for several years. He told of opening shows for some of the bigger stars of today: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, George Jones and many others. Mr. Johnson was known for his smooth, clean style of picking and fiddling. His musical ability is seen in his grandchildren as they have been influenced by his talent. He enjoyed camping with his family, woodworking and fishing. He was saved at an early age and answered the call to preach in 1971. He pastored several churches and had a particular ministry to the var-ious bluegrass shows he attended. He was interim pastor of the Gentryville Church of God be-fore his death. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Eugene Johnston. Surviving are his wife of the home; two sons, Alan Johnston of Belleville, Ill., and Dennis Johnston of Piedmont; one daugh-ter, Bonnie McGownd of Mountain Grove; three brothers, J.R. Johnston of Norwood, Marion Johnston of Umatella, Ore., and Earl Johnston of Burns, Ore.; two stepbrothers, Ray Mathis of Mountain Grove and Fay Mathis of Paola, Kan.; four stepsisters, Violet Long and Eva Mayfield of Mountain Grove, Ann Arnall of Willow Springs and Lois Hall of Oregon; and seven grandchildren. Services were Sept. 3 at the Cornerstone Free Will Baptist Church with the Rev. Ronald Turner, the Rev. Gail Scherer and the Rev. Greg Raney officiating. Burial was in the Pleasant Home Cemetery under the direction of Craig-Hurtt-Bradley Funeral Home of Mountain Grove. “

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