Katharine “Kit” Johnston, 87

Katharine Mayer Johnston, of Chebeague Island and Scarborough, Maine, died peacefully in her sleep surrounded by family, on Monday, March 20, 2017. It was a bright and sunny afternoon, the first day of spring.

Kit was born August 6, 1929 in Rochester, Pennsylvania to Katharine Collins and Lowrie McCandless. Several years later her parents divorced, her mother remarried, and Kit was adopted by Eldon C. Mayer, a career Naval officer.

Kit’s family settled in various Navy bases approximately every three years, until her father retired from the Navy. He then taught at Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, from which Kit graduated in 1947. She received a B.Sc. from the University of Wisconsin in 1952, and joined The American Red Cross as a hospital recreation worker. She had several overseas postings before attending Boston University’s School of Social Work for two years of graduate study.

Kit met her future husband, Jerry Johnston, in Boston, and married on June 8, 1957 in the chapel of St. Luke’s Cathedral, Portland, Maine. Jerry joined Chase Bank and Kit taught at Spence School in New York City for three years before their daughter Jennifer was born. Their son, Alex, was born in 1962 in Princeton, New Jersey where they made their home.

Jerry’s international banking career led the family to Lima, Peru for four years, and then to the Los Angeles area where Kit became involved in several charitable organizations as a volunteer, while the children attended local schools. When Jennifer went off to college and Alex to boarding school, Jerry and Kit moved to London for another four year banking assignment.

Returning to California, Kit entered the University of Southern California and received her Masters in Social Work two years later. She became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and had many productive years working with developmentally disabled children and their families. Retiring with Jerry, she joined him as he did consulting work with financial institutions in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Every summer for the past 60 years the family was able to spend some vacation time at their home on Chebeague Island where Kit’s generational roots were deep. She and Jerry had many happy adventures sailing their boat along the Maine coast, and bicycling in Europe. It is on Chebeague where Kit was able to share her many passions with her beloved family. She loved to sail, swim, play tennis and golf, pick berries and generally express her zeal for an active, outdoor life. Since 2005, she and Jerry have lived in Piper Shores, a retirement community on the coast of Scarborough, Maine.

Kit is survived by her husband of sixty years, her children Jennifer and Alex; her five grandchildren: Jeffrey, Rebecca and Elizabeth Rego, Zoë and Isabel Johnston; and by her brother, Eldon Mayer Jr.

A Memorial Service for Kit Johnston will be held at the Methodist Church on Saturday, July 15th at 11:00 am, followed by luncheon for all at the Parish House.