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Developer killed at Woods Resort

October 28, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - A Berkeley County, W.Va., developer who was involved in the development of Sleepy Hollow subdivision and the Old Poorhouse Farm Park died Tuesday morning after he was thrown from an earth mover, his brother said.

Melvin "Monty" Johnston, 71, who lived at The Woods Resort near Hedgesville, was driving the earth mover up a hill at the resort shortly after 10:30 a.m. when the machine lost traction and began to slip backward, according to West Virginia State Police and the deceased's brother, Ray Johnston, owner of the resort.

Ray Johnston said the earth mover flipped over, throwing his brother off. He said he believed his brother died instantly.

"All of his life he was deeply involved in public service," said Johnston, 64.

Last week, Monty Johnston wrapped up a construction project that involved building a lake and football field at the Old Poorhouse Farm Park, which is owned by Berkeley County, Johnston said.

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His older brother had worked on the park project for the past two summers.

Monty Johnston was one of four principal partners in the 800-acre, 500-lot Sleepy Hollow subdivision on Mountain Lake Road next to The Woods Resort, Johnston said.

He also built nine additional holes at The Woods Resort golf course, bringing the course to 27 holes, Johnston said.

A real estate developer for 22 years, Monty Johnston also developed waterfront property on Smith Mountain Lake near Roanoke, Va., according to his brother.

Although he retired in 1989, Monty Johnston was never inactive, his younger brother said.

On Tuesday morning, Monty Johnston was moving stones from several lots, preparing them for construction of new homes, his brother said.

The Woods Resort is a 1,800-acre, 1,400-home development that is two-thirds completed, he said.

Monty Johnston and his wife, Jeraldine, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary less than two months ago, Ray Johnston said.

Monty Johnston also is survived by three children and five grandchildren, Ray Johnston said.

Monty Johnston had been an Iowa conservation officer for 13 years and was director of the parks system in Black Hawk County, Iowa, for four years, his brother said.

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