Rita Mae (Weaver) Johnston, 88

September 19, 2009

AUG. 4, 1921-SEPT. 16, 2009

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Rita Mae (Weaver) Johnston, 88, formerly of 2021 Letterkenny Road, Chambersburg, Pa., passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009, at The Village of Laurel Run.

Born Aug. 4, 1921, in New Orleans, La., she was the daughter of the late John Curtis and Mary Borgia (Keenan) Weaver.

She was a 1938 graduate of the Sophie B. Wright High School in New Orleans.

Mrs. Johnston was married for 61 years to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. (Ret.) Howland Kosher Johnston, who passed away in 2002.


Rita Mae Johnston was an avid volunteer throughout her life. She served on the boards of the American Red Cross in Chambersburg, the Chambersburg Community Center, and the Chambersburg Garden Club. Locally and abroad, she spent 45 years doing volunteer work for the American Red Cross Blood Services. She was a past president of both the Chambersburg Garden Club and the Letterkenny Ladies Club, and was a member of the South Penn Area Rose Society, the Letterkenny Ladies of the Chapel and the Council of the Arts. Rita Mae also volunteered with Catholic Social Services, the Franklin Science Fair, the Letterkenny Thrift Store and for the Shippensburg University Archives. She served as a Girl Scout Leader in New York, Alaska and Japan. In addition, Rita Mae was a founding member of the Gotemba Friends, an organization founded with Chambersburg's sister city, Gotemba, Japan.

Rita Mae married her husband on Nov. 28, 1940, in Montgomery, Ala. They raised a family of five daughters, and while Howland was in the Pacific Theater during WWII, and in Korea during that conflict, she returned to Chambersburg with her daughters to await his return. As a military family, they were stationed in various places, both in the U.S. and overseas, during their many years of active service, including memorable tours of duty in New York, Alaska and Japan.

She is survived by five daughters, Mary Borgia and husband Jack Compton of Lexington, S.C., Donna Rita and husband Duane Bricker, and Holly Karen and husband Woody Kadel, all of Chambersburg, Pa., Jamy Curtis and husband Michael Freed of Frederick, Md., and Paula Jeanne Noll of Hagerstown, Md.; fourteen grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; two step-great-grandchildren; and two step-great-great-grandchildren; a brother, Harry Weaver of Birmingham, Ala.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Aside from her husband, Rita Mae was preceded in the death by two sisters, Gerardine "Nan" Weaver and Jeanne Milton, both of Montgomery, Ala.

Rita Mae was a loving and caring wife, mother, and grandmother. She will be missed, but will stay in the family's thoughts and hearts forever.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 21, 2009, at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 320 Philadelphia Ave., Chambersburg, Pa. Interment will follow in Spring Hill Cemetery, Shippensburg, Pa.

Friends may visit with the family from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009, at the Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home, 333 Falling Spring Road, Chambersburg, Pa., and from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday at the church.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America at, Asera Care Hospice at, or to Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 320 Philadelphia Ave., Chambersburg, PA 17201.

Condolences may be expressed at

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