The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX


July 9, 2014

Nell Johnston

GREENVILLE — Nell Johnston, 96, passed away in Greenville on Sunday, June 29, 2014. Interment was at Memoryland Memorial Park in Greenville. A memorial service is scheduled in the Coker-Mathews Funeral Home chapel on Saturday, July 12, at 10:30 a.m. Rev. Benjamin Shinn, formerly of Kavanaugh United Methodist Church, will officiate.

Nell was born in Bonham on June 20, 1918, to Roy and Irene Gass Johnston. She was the oldest of six children. Nell was the valedictorian of her graduating class at Sulphur Springs High School.

She attended business school in Bonham, and soon after her 18th birthday, she started her career as a legal secretary at the law office of G.C. Harris in Greenville. She continued her employment with Mr. Harris for 45 years, ending with his death in 1981. Nell was honored as the first recipient of the Legal Secretary of the Year in 1982, by the Hunt County Legal Secretaries Association.

She continued her career for the next 28 years, assisting her nephew, Steve Watkins, as he started a law practice in Greenville. A few years later, Nell went to work for Attorney Don Hayter. After his retirement, she continued to work in the law office of his daughter and son-in-law, Cynthia and Kevin Green. In 1999, Nell went to work at the law office of H. Craig Black.

In 2001, on the 65th anniversary of her legal career, she was named an Honorary Lifetime member of the Hunt County Bar Association. Nell ended her 73-year career in law at the offices of Watkins and Perkins in 2009.

While Nell always considered the law as her calling, she was also active in Altrusa International, serving as a director and governor-elect.

She was a devoted member of Kavanaugh United Methodist Church for 78 years, serving as a Sunday school teacher and working with numerous church committees. She enjoyed gardening, gourmet cooking, reading, and travels and activities with her family.

Nell’s family drew strength from her love and support. She was an inspiration to her siblings, nieces and nephews. She will be missed and always remembered with great fondness.

Surviving are her sister and brother-in-law, Bettye and Lanny Ice of Monahans; sister-in-law Cora Lee Johnston of Lake Charles, La.; nine nieces and nephews; 21 great-nieces and nephews and six great-great-nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Maryanne Miller, Sarah Bickley and Dorothy Watkins; and her brother, Roy Johnston.

Nell’s family would like to thank the caregivers at Legend Healthcare and Dr. Tom Selvaggi for the excellent care and attention given Nell the past year and a half. As Nell so often said, “Everything is great!”

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Kavanaugh United Methodist Church in Greenville.

Online condolences may be made at

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