George Paul Johnston of Concord, MA, a devoted father, businessman and conservation advocate passed away on June 22, 2023 at the age of 81. With a distinguished 35-year career in the ocean transportation industry and a deep commitment to environmental causes, George left an enduring legacy in both his professional and personal pursuits.
Born in Manhattan on November 21, 1941, George was the son of Pauline Chorik and James V. Johnston. He grew up with a strong sense of adventure and a deep love for the natural world. He received his education from Xavier High School in New York City before earning a BA in economics from Fordham University. He went on to obtain an MBA in international marketing from the City University of New York, giving him the foundation that would shape his future endeavors.
In 1970, he married the love of his life, Kathryn Fleschutz, originally from Wellsville NY.
George's professional journey began in the shipping industry where he worked in sales and marketing for Moore McCormack and American Export Isbrandtsen Lines. He went on to serve in the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) in Washington D.C. In 1972 George accepted a position as director of marketing and research with the Associated North Atlantic Freight Conferences in London England. Years of sales, marketing and research experience led to the founding of OTS International Data and Marketing Services in 1978 where George served as Managing Director in London.
In 1984 George and his family returned to Randolph, NJ where George was the owner and marketing director of Ocean Tariff Systems Inc., a private, international consulting company specializing in marketing and statistical services for the containerized shipping industry.
Upon retirement, George and his beloved wife and partner Kathy settled in Dataw Island, South Carolina where he pursued his lifelong passion for conservation.
In addition to advocating for a wide range of environmental and quality of life issues, George served two three-year terms on the Board of the SC Coastal Conservation League, an organization that has had a profound impact on environmental efforts throughout South Carolina.
He founded EnviroExec, an environmental listserv aimed at centralizing ongoing conservation work across the state. Additionally, he designed and moderated “Ahead of the Curve,” a course on environmental issues for the creative retirement center at USC Beaufort; served on the Rural and Critical Lands Preservation Board from 2010 – 2013 and Beaufort County Planning Commission from 2014-2016; was on the Board of Directors for the “Friends of Hunting Island” and was the coordinator for the SCORE oyster restoration project. His interest in politics encouraged him to run as an Independent for Beaufort County Council.
In pursuit of their shared love for exploration, George and Kathy traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and South America, both during their time in London and later while residing in the United States.
Beyond his professional achievements and environmental advocacy, George had a rich tapestry of interests. He found joy in the theater, taking on several roles with the Chester Theater Group in Chester, NJ and the Community Playhouse in Randolph, NJ. He enjoyed bird carving, saltwater fishing and boating, particularly in Laurel, Long Island on Peconic Bay where his family spent many memorable summers.
An avid swimmer, George actively participated in the Masters Swim program in Beaufort, SC and frequently participated in open-water swimming events.
Most of all he loved his family, always looking out for them and encouraging them in all their pursuits. He especially enjoyed sharing stories of his youth growing up in Manhattan, his knowledge of fishing, and his experience as a boy scout. He was determined that all of his grandchildren would learn to play chess, a game he truly loved.
In addition to Kathy, his wife of 53 years, George is survived by his daughters, Pauline Johnston MD, of Bangor, ME, and Suzanne Johnston Daines MD, of Harvard, MA. He will be deeply missed by his sons-in-law, Jonnathan Busko MD, and Brad Daines MD as well as his cherished grandchildren, Kathryn, Alex, Claire, and Bradley. He is pre-deceased by his parents and half-brothers, James and William. He leaves many dear nieces, nephews and cousins as well as lifelong friends in England, New Jersey and South Carolina.
George's legacy is one of excellence, passion, and a deep commitment to his family and the environment. His contributions to conservation issues will continue to inspire his family and future generations to protect and cherish our natural world.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his name to:
South Carolina Coastal Conservation League
131 Spring Street
Charleston, SC 29403www.coastalconservationleague.org