Floyd Johnston was born on March, 1st 1922, in Slick, Oklahoma, to Nellie and Noah Johnston. He was the seventh of eight children. He spent his childhood on a farm in Oklahoma, and after ten years of schooling, he dropped out and went to work in the oil fields of Texas. On December 10, 1942, Floyd got his call to join the war effort and went to Plattsburg Barracks, NY for nine months of training as part of the 51st Engineer Combat Battalion. In November 1943, they were sent to North Africa and then headed through the Strait of Gibraltar to India, all the while dodging German submarines. After a twenty-two day battle over Oran, Algeria, he moved on to the Suez Canal and was then shipped back to England for more training, prior to what would become the D-Day invasion. Ten days after D-Day, his battalion landed on Utah Beach and moved across France constructing roads, bridges and culverts to be used by the US First Army. During this time, Floyd participated in the Battle Of The Bulge, joined up with Patton’s Third Army and in March 1945, the 51st built a bridge across the Rhine river in twenty-six hours while being bombarded by German fire. On April 27, 1945, towards the end of the war, after completing a bridge across the Danube, they came upon three-hundred German soldiers, who became prisoners of war. Floyd was discharged from the Army at Chafee, Arkansas on November 5th, 1945.
Floyd ended up working in Wyoming, where he met Laura Mains. Floyd and Laura would marry on November 14th, 1948. Their first child, Gerald Roy, was born in Deer Lodge, MT followed soon after by twins Arlene Elaine and Christine (Christine died just three days after birth). They relocated to Anaconda, MT, where Carol June, their third child, was born. She was followed by James Paul and their youngest daughter, Bonnie Ellen, a few years later.
In Anaconda, Floyd found himself working various jobs; construction on the high school, the Anaconda Smelter, driving Culligan delivery trucks, a service station employee, and working at Beall’s Lumber. In 1968, he began working for Intermountain Bus Lines where he worked until retiring out of the Teamsters Union in 1984.
Floyd and Laura then retired to Georgetown Lake, near Anaconda, where he enjoyed the plentiful hunting and fishing, as well as tearing around the countryside on his four-wheelers and snowmobiles.
In September 2000, Laura passed away. They had been married for almost 52 years. They enjoyed traveling to visit children, relatives, and friends. They made many trips back East to attend his 51st Again Army reunions.
Floyd spent his remaining years at Georgetown Lake, hunting, fishing, building an elk-skin teepee, and entertaining his many grandchildren when they came to visit.
He was always in good spirits when he could get outdoors or fiddle around with one of the many, many vehicles on his property. He made many friends in the neighborhood as he couldn’t let a home be built nearby without his assistance.
In September 2016, Floyd was honored for his military service by having his uniform put on display at the Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Courthouse. And on May 10th, 2017, the Republic of France awarded him the title of Knight Of The Legion Of Honor from the National Order Of The Legion Of Honor for his service to their country during the Second World War.
Floyd is survived by his children, Gerald (Mary) Johnston, Arlene (Rob) Karmil, Carol Clarke, James “JP” Johnston, and Bonnie (Tom) Kettells; as well as his seven grandchildren, Chris (Jodie) Johnston, Kevin Clarke (Sophie Ceneray), Jeremy Johnston (Kailey), Joshua Johnston, Stacy Clarke (Jesse Bommarito), Shannon Kettells, and Tommy Kettles; five great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.
Private family services will be held.
Please visit longfellowfinneganriddle.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Floyd.
Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Floyd and his family.