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Marvel R. Johnston


Marvel R. Johnston, a lifelong Watertown resident, passed away following a brief illness on June 16 in Concord, NC surrounded by her loving family. Arrangements were made with Hartsell Funeral Home in Concord. There will be no services. Burial will be in the North Watertown Cemetery at the convenience of the family.

Marvel was born July 21, 1918 in Watertown, daughter of Bert and Pearl Barcomb. She attended Watertown schools. She lived at Curtis Apartments in Watertown for many years before moving to Concord in June of this year.

Marvel married Thomas Kealy on February 8, 1937 at the Holy Family Church in Watertown. The couple had a son, Thomas. Mr. Kealy died in 1939 from tetanus contracted when he cut his hand on a license plate after he stopped to offer assistance to a vehicle that was stuck.

She married Carmen Catania on August 24, 1940 at St. Anthony’s Church in Watertown. A daughter Sharon was born in August 1943. During World War II, like so many other women of her generation, Marvel supported the war effort on the home front by going to work at the NY Air Brake. The Watertown Times chronicled her efforts and others in an article “Home-front Heroines and Heroes.” Marvel was working at the Air Brake on May 17, 1945 when she was summoned home. Upon arrival she was given a Western Union telegram notifying her that Mr. Catania had been killed in action 7 days earlier in Okinawa while serving his country with the US Marines Corps.

Marvel married Lyle Johnston on October 18, 1948 in Montrose, Pa. The couple had three children, Tamara, Joanne, and Richard. The marriage ended in 1975.

Throughout her life and despite the tragic loss of two husbands, Marvel remained remarkably upbeat and very active. She worked hard at raising her children and loved socializing with her friends and enjoying life. At various times she was an active member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, American Legion Post 61 Auxiliary, Watertown Golf Club, Willowbrook Golf Club, and several bowling leagues. She loved crafts, dancing, playing golf, shopping, walking the mall, and playing bingo. She stayed active in all these pursuits as long as she could. Marvel was a loyal friend to many and a loving mother and grandmother.

Marvel is survived by her companion of many years - Lorin (Larry) Hicks, and her children and their spouses - Thomas (Helen) Kealy and Richard (Karen) Johnston, Sharon (Joseph) Richardson, Tamara (Harlow) Hunt, and Joanne (James) Foreman. She is survived by her 13 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren and a two great-great grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her three husbands and a grandson Joey Richardson.

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