Kelly Kent Johnston Sr., 1948-2005

Kelly Kent Johnston Sr. died Thursday, Sept. 28, 2005, at Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs from heart failure after surgery. He was 57.

Kelly was born in Lamar on Feb. 14, 1948.

Kelly attended Fairview High School in Boulder and later attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he was a fullback for the Colorado Buffaloes.

In 1970, he enlisted with the United States Air Force, where he served as a computer programmer in the Security Service in Chicksands, England. He received several USAF commendation medals for exemplary service in his field.

Kelly married Susan Foster Letts on May 1, 1972, in Boulder. Kelly frequented the Hungry Farmer “watering hole” with his football buddies and high school friends. It was at the Boulder restaurant that he introduced himself to Susan on a dare from his friends. Susan and Kelly were married six months later.

Kelly prioritized his family above all else and took great pride in the accomplishments of his two children, K2 and Samantha. He measured his success as a father by the inner core of his children and their desire for personal growth. He always said, “If you always tell the truth and do the right thing, then when your integrity is questioned, those around you will always believe what you say.” He also always reminded his children that the two things that nobody in the world could take from them were an education and integrity.

For Kelly, his family was his crowning glory — it defined him. Not a day went by when Kelly’s family didn’t know how much they were loved.

His passions were designing and fabricating wrought iron, reading, inventing and spending time at home in his backyard. Anyone who knows Kelly will forever remember his sense of humor and the way that he laughed so hard when telling a story that he could hardly get the punch line out. He will long be remembered for his kind and gentle nature, propensity to always do the right thing and commitment to integrity before prosperity. The world lost a truly remarkable man.

Kelly was the consummate entrepreneur, father and husband.

Kelly is survived by his wife of 33 years, Susan; a son, Kelly K. Johnston Jr. of Denver; and a daughter, Samantha Johnston of Craig. He also is survived by his beloved chocolate lab, Willie, and many close friends and family.

Memorial services were held Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005, at the home of Kelly and Susan Johnston. Memorial donations may be made to the Kelly Johnston Memorial fund at Bank of the West in Craig or Steamboat Springs. All donations will be used to start an annual high school scholarship for a Moffat County and Routt County graduating senior.

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