HANCOCK—Leslie “Heber” Johnston, 91, passed away July 19, 2010, in Ellsworth. He was born May 2, 1919, to parents Harry and Zelma (Wilson) Johnston in Hancock.
Heber served with the United States Navy and was a WWII veteran. He was well known and much loved around Hancock. He worked many jobs including caretaking for the summer residents on Hancock Point and volunteering for the Hancock Fire Department. He most liked to talk about the days he worked for the lobster pound and the years he spent playing baseball. He always had a smile on his face talking about pitching a no-hitter and winning the game by hitting a home run. In 1951, the town of Hancock had a “Heber Johnston Day” to celebrate his baseball career and people came from all around to celebrate who everyone thought was just “an all around great player and a great guy.” By 1958 he was happily married to Fredonna (Matthews), and found himself outnumbered in his own home with his wife and three young daughters. It’s the family’s belief that this is about the time he perfected his skill of “whistling his way through life.” He spent hunting seasons escaping with the boys to their hunting camp, but in the later years he spent the entire time feeding the critters as opposed to hunting them. He always had candy in his pocket for his two-legged friends and biscuits in his other pocket for his four-legged ones. In his later years he became a permanent fixture at Hancock Grocery. People learned that if they needed to find him, that’s where he’d be, reading the paper, drinking coffee and chatting with anyone who walked through the door. He knew just about everyone and even if he didn’t know you, he treated you like you were lifelong friends.
Heber is survived by two grandsons, Troy Bridges and family and Rob Jancewicz Jr., both of Hancock.; one granddaughter, Jennifer Ratti and family of El Mirage, Ariz.; and several great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Fredonna; and daughters Linda McGuiness, Leslie D. Johnston and Jackie L. Fogg. The family wishes to thank Bernie Fogg, Donna and Bob Jancewicz, nurse, Janice and all of the other employees at Courtland Rehabilitation and Living Center for caring for Heber and recognizing how special he was.
A funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Monday, July 26, 2010, at the Hancock Congregational Church. Interment will be at Riverside Cemetery, Hancock. Contributions in Heber’s memory may be made to the Hancock Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 101, Hancock, ME 04640, or the Hancock Congregational Church, P.O. Box 98, Hancock, ME 04640. Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St., Ellsworth. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.