This memorial website was created to honor Jim.  The memories he leaves behind him aren’t one memory, they are all the memories we each hold.  I’m one of his little sisters, much younger than him.  I don’t have many memories of him as a child but he has been an important part of my life at certain times as an adult.  I will share some memories on another page.  If I don’t share my memories, then you may not know that part of Jim and if you don’t share the stories (and photos) you hold, others won’t know those parts of him.  But if we all share our memories, then his memory is truly honored.  So let this be an open door.  Come and share.

And you are welcome to join us:

MEMORIAL GATHERING- Baltimore
Saturday,January 25, 2020
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM  6:00 to 8:00 pm

MEMORIAL SERVICE
6:30 PM
Kaczorowski Funeral Home P. A.
1201 Dundalk Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21222

MEMORIAL SERVICE-Washington DC
Monday, January 27, 2020
2:00 P
St. Albans Episcopal Church
3001 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Baltimore International Seafarers' Center 1430 Wallace Street, Baltimore, Md. 21230, or to any other of the many organizations Jim supported.

Posted by Kristina Johnstone on January 24, 2020
I will remember fondly the times my husband Robert (one of James' brothers) and I spent with with James, and with his wife Julie. Dinner in San Francisco; time visiting at our home in Palo Alto; the high school reunions in Los Alamos, New Mexico; the outings in Santa Fe and environs; fun times at a cabin in Colorado (Trece); Loveland, Colorado; and finally Edmonds, Washington. He was fun, and smart, and charming. It was a pleasure to know him. Love and sympathy to his wife Julie, and of course to his wonderful brothers and sisters!
Posted by Dick Wiley on January 24, 2020
Jim was a wonderful lawyer and great friend over so many years. It was a privilege and pleasure to practice law with him. Truly, he was one of the very best professionals that I have known. My sincere condolences to Jim's family.
Posted by Bert Rein on January 24, 2020
I first met Jim when I started at Kirkland om the fall of 1967. He was then a young antitrust partner renowned for his analytical ability and insistence on getting everything right down to the last detail. He had the reputation of being so frustrated with the inadequacies of newbies like me that he would chew on and splinter pencils. But working with him was not only great training but a chance to break through to a person of great character and loyalty to his family, especially, and his colleagues. Over the years until his retirement, I worked a great deal with Jim, was introduced to Bethany at his beach house and shared many great lunches and squash games with him. I missed him when he retired and will miss him even more now.
Posted by Christine Gsell on January 23, 2020
I am Julie's sister, Christine Ballard Gsell. Some of my fondest memories take me back 30 years or more when Jim, Julie and I would always spend Memorial Day Weekend together in a vacation rental on our Delaware beaches. We spent many years starting the summer together. Toes in the sand. Though they are not much for laying in the sun, there were plenty of umbrellas to go around. Jim those weekends will be missed but not forgotten!
Posted by Deb Knott (Johnstone) on January 21, 2020
I miss my Dad very much and hope everyone remembers him fondly as I do. I still can’t believe he’s gone. This is a day a child is never prepared for even though you knew it would come.
I’m so glad I was able to see him just a few days before he passed away. I got to tell him all the things I wanted to say. He was very aware of my presence,the words I spoke to him,and he was happy that I was there with him telling him how much I love him. I’m so thankful I got the time to tell him that.
I’m glad Dad went when he did because I don’t think he wanted to continue just existing for months and months because he loved life SO much. I told him remember all the great things you’ve done in your life and even mentioned a few instances. I think he was very pleased with the eventful life he lived. I’m glad he is now at peace and with God.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Kristina Johnstone on January 24, 2020
I will remember fondly the times my husband Robert (one of James' brothers) and I spent with with James, and with his wife Julie. Dinner in San Francisco; time visiting at our home in Palo Alto; the high school reunions in Los Alamos, New Mexico; the outings in Santa Fe and environs; fun times at a cabin in Colorado (Trece); Loveland, Colorado; and finally Edmonds, Washington. He was fun, and smart, and charming. It was a pleasure to know him. Love and sympathy to his wife Julie, and of course to his wonderful brothers and sisters!
Posted by Dick Wiley on January 24, 2020
Jim was a wonderful lawyer and great friend over so many years. It was a privilege and pleasure to practice law with him. Truly, he was one of the very best professionals that I have known. My sincere condolences to Jim's family.
Posted by Bert Rein on January 24, 2020
I first met Jim when I started at Kirkland om the fall of 1967. He was then a young antitrust partner renowned for his analytical ability and insistence on getting everything right down to the last detail. He had the reputation of being so frustrated with the inadequacies of newbies like me that he would chew on and splinter pencils. But working with him was not only great training but a chance to break through to a person of great character and loyalty to his family, especially, and his colleagues. Over the years until his retirement, I worked a great deal with Jim, was introduced to Bethany at his beach house and shared many great lunches and squash games with him. I missed him when he retired and will miss him even more now.
his Life

Jim was born in Denver, CO on July 24, 1934 to Jane McClure Johnstone and Don Johnstone. Both parents graduated from the University of Illinois.  Prior to her marriage, Jane taught physical education in the Decatur, Illinois public schools. Don initially worked in hydraulic engineering, which took them to New Jersey where Jim’s brother Robert was born in 1936. Jane was lost to a quick-acting lung cancer when the boys were 10 and 8.

Don and Bernetta Louisa Isbell married, having met during WWII in Washington DC where they both were serving in the Naval Reserve.  Bea (Bernetta) had taught at Wayland College in TX before becoming an officer in the WAVES.  After the war, Don’s civilian work took Bea and the boys to Mississippi, then Ohio, and then Los Alamos where he worked for the Atomic Energy Commission in Operations. Jim got five more siblings:  William, Donna, Barbara, Richard and Marjorie.

Jim graduated from Los Alamos High School with honors in 1951 and received the Southwest Regional Scholarship to Yale.  At Yale, he was on the staff of the Yale Daily News. Jim’s (forever) enthusiasm for baseball got this young sports reporter moved further away from the announcer’s microphone that was picking up his yells.  He graduated in 1955 and then served two years active duty as a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve.  He shipped out of San Diego on the USS Stembel destroyer, patrolling islands off the coast of China and south of Japan.  He returned to Yale for his law degree, was on the board of directors of the Yale Law Journal, and graduated in 1960.

Jim worked in Washington, DC for the law firm of Kirkland Ellis for about 20 years and then for the firm of Wiley and Rain that was established in a reorg of Kirkland Ellis. Someone at the firm could better sum up his professional work; the family enjoys that he had something to do with ibuprofen, Fred Flintstone vitamins and those auctioneer-speed disclosures on TV for prescription drugs.  And Barbie (Mattel).  And asparagus--in the other Washington.  He did some work in private practice toward the end of his professional life that fit his strong concern for social justice, including helping argue against a death penalty and arguing appeals cases based on the racial injustice of differences in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine offenses.

Jim married Virginia Miller, a graduate of Smith College who was employed as a special education teacher by the Washington DC public schools. Jim and Ginny Johnstone have two children, Christopher M. Johnstone and Deborah M. Knott.  After Jim and Ginny divorced, Jim married Julie Ballard (Johnstone) in 1984.  Julie is the daughter of Eleanor E. Ballard and the late M.E. (“Ed”) Ballard.  Julie attended American College in Paris and then graduated from American University in DC with a degree in International Relations and Asian Studies.  Julie and Jim lived in DC, where he enjoyed tending his roses and grilling in the backyard.  He always loved trains and they took some big trips across the continent.  They also travelled internationally, including several trips to England and Scotland (the Johnstone roots) and to Norway (where his youngest sister, Marji, lives).  He enjoyed hanging out with Julie’s extended family and with his friends in DC and then for the last 15 years in Baltimore.  In DC, he was an active member of St. Albans Church for over 30 years, and he served as a warden there.

Recent stories

Too Small To Live?

Shared by Will Johnstone on January 22, 2020
James McClure Johnstone was born in Denver, Colorado July 24, 1934.  He weighed 3#, 6 oz at birth at a time when preemies that small were not expected to survive.  Jim was lucky that this doctor had been called in when during the night of July 23 it became obvious that Jane McClure Johnstone, his mother, was going to deliver her first baby three to four months prematurely.  That he survived should probably be credited to this young doctor who had come to Colorado a few months earlier and who had a passion for saving these smallest of babies.  Obviously, Jim survived very well indeed.
     Associated photos are of Jim with the clarinet and his brother Robert with the trumpet while in high school in Los Alamos in 1947, Jim with his brother Bob, grandfather Merle M., father Don, and little brother Binky in 1948, and Jim in 1967( or '63?).
    Jim was a 1955 graduate of Yale University, served two years as a reserve officer in the Navy, returned to Yale on completion of that duty, and received his law degree in 1960.  For some 20 years he was a member of the Chicago law firm of Kirkland Ellis, in its Washington, DC office.  In the spring of 1983, reorganization established of a new firm of Wiley and Rain, with which he was then associated, still in Washington. Jim served as a warden of St. Albans church in Washington, DC.

Surprise Gift

Shared by Donna Bearden on January 21, 2020
We were in Washington for Jim and Julie's wedding.  Jim had arranged a dinner at a favorite Georgetown restaurant, an Italian place if I remember correctly.  We were seated upstairs in a private dining room.  The burly man serving us may have been the owner.  Working alone, he made multiple trips up and down stairs: wine, salads, main course, desserts.  His face was turning rosy and beads of sweat broke out across his forehead.  As dessert was served, the waiter/owner stopped his hustling up and down stairs to offer us an amazing gift.  He stood in the middle of the horseshoe setup of tables, turned to Julie and said, "Julie, this is for you."  And he sang a favorite song, acapella in the most beautiful tenor voice.  That was followed by "Jim, this is for you," and another song.  Then he took a step back and addressed all of us.  "This is for all of you," he said. When the last note of Ave Maria faded away, there wasn't a dry eye in the place.  

A Very Special Summer

Shared by Donna Bearden on January 21, 2020
Jim was 13 years older than me and was already off to college by the time I was starting school.  So I have few memories of him as I grew up.  He lived on the east coast, I stayed in the Southwest. But there was a very special summer after my sophomore year at college when I went to Washington DC to stay with him and his family.  What a summer it was!  He took me to a baseball game, my first, his 1000th probably.  He loved baseball!  There were concerts, plays, trips to the Smithsonian, and visits to many national memorials.  I watched fireworks on the 4th of July sitting in a canoe on the Potomac. Spending time at their beach house in Rohoboth, Maryland, was a treat beyond anything I had ever experienced. Eating seafood, walking the beach, making sand castles, collecting shells.  All the stuff you do at the beach that isn't readily available in New Mexico or West Texas.  He made that available to me.
So many fond memories of that summer! 

I have one confession.  The week after I got there, he and his family were leaving on a month's vacation.  They had arranged for me to stay with Christopher's teacher and her roommate that month, but they left me access to their house AND gave me the keys to their car.  Unbeknownst to them, I had only gotten my driver's license a couple weeks before.  My early driving was in Washington DC, even driving to the airport twice.  But I was 20.  What did I have to fear?  (I never told them.  I just acted like it was totally normal to give a newly licensed driver keys to a car in a very busy city with freeways with multiple lanes.)