Boats 07

Harold S. "Jay" Johnston

August 13, 1950 ~ November 11, 2021 (age 71)

Obituary

Harold S. “Jay” Johnston, III, 71, of Arnold died on Thursday, November 11, 2021 surrounded by family after a long and brave battle with cancer. 

Jay was born in New Kensington in 1950 to Harold and Nancy (Jones) Johnston, Jr. He attended Arnold High School, where, at age 14, he met the love of his life, Gaeten Farinelli. Jay studied architecture at Penn State University and in Florence, Italy. In 1972, he married Gaeten in San Leucio, Italy before moving back to Pennsylvania to raise a family.

In 1981, Jay founded Canzian/Johnston & Associates with his best friend and fellow architect, the late Tom Canzian. Jay and Tom grew their business into a prominent and successful architecture firm in New Kensington, specializing in schools and public housing. Jay was a leader in his community, proudly supporting local businesses and serving a term as President of the New Kensington Chamber of Commerce. He was a man of faith who was active in his church community as well, serving for many years on the Board at the Church of God in Lower Burrell. 

Jay embraced life and thrived on new challenges. He was a winning Formula Vee racecar driver and pit crew member. He was a private pilot who flew search and rescue missions for the Civil Air Patrol. He loved boating, water and snow skiing, painting, playing piano, and speaking Italian. He could build or fix anything, and his children’s cars and homes will not be the same without him. 

Jay is survived by Gaeten, his wife of 49 years; his children: Erica (George) Johnston-Earl of Bel Air, MD, Amy (Thom) Johnston Ellenbecker of Forest Hill, MD, and Sam (Jessica) Johnston of New Kensington, PA; his siblings: Keith (Becky) Johnston of Strongsville, OH, and Melanie (Richard) Retterer of Grove City, OH; his grandchildren: Jake, Livia, and Malcolm Earl; Ben, Vivi and Clara Ellenbecker; and Beck and Kellen Johnston; and his loyal dog Fred. He leaves behind a large community of loving family and friends, hundreds of beautiful schools, homes, and buildings, and an impressive set of paintings gracing the walls of his loved ones. 

We will celebrate Jay’s life at Ross G. Walker Funeral Home Ltd., 217 Freeport Road, New Kensington from 6:00 to 8:00 PM on Thursday, Nov. 18. An additional visitation will be held at the Church of God, 273 Chester Drive in Lower Burrell, from 9:00 to 11:00 AM on Friday, Nov. 19 followed by a service at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the American Cancer Society in Jay’s honor at https://secure.acsevents.org/site/TR/Events/MosaicofHope?pg=fund&fr_id=9910&pxfid=2613367

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Harold S. "Jay", please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Thursday
November 18, 2021

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Ross G. Walker Funeral Home
217 Freeport Road
New Kensington, PA 15068

Visitation
Friday
November 19, 2021

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Church of God
273 Chester Drive
New Kensington, PA 15068

Funeral Service
Friday
November 19, 2021

11:00 AM
Church of God
273 Chester Drive
New Kensington, PA 15068

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