Jeffrey F. Johnston
December 10, 1947 - March 7, 2016
. . . nurtured a continued passion for drawing . . .
Jeffrey F. Johnston, 68, passed away peacefully Monday (March 7, 2016) at home surrounded by friends, family and with the unending support of loved ones near and far.
Jeffrey was born on Dec. 10, 1947 in Ridgewood Queens to Elizabeth “Betty” Josephine (Salim) Johnston and Robert John Johnston and grew up in Cortland, Binghamton and Syracuse; where he graduated from Most Holy Rosary School in 1965. He went on to attend the University of Norte Dame and received his Bachelor in Architecture in 1971.
While at Notre Dame, Jeffrey attended the Notre Dame International School in Rome, thus beginning a lifelong passion for Italian art and architecture. This love was woven throughout his 41 year teaching career at Alfred State College where he taught art and architecture. He also practiced as an architect in the Syracuse and Alfred areas. Together, these experiences culminated in his founding in 2009 the Alfred State Sorrento Study Abroad Program in partnership with the Sant’Anna Institute in Italy.
Jeff is survived by a daughter, Rachel Johnston and her husband, AJ Pires of Brooklyn; a brother, Robert (Patricia) Johnston, Jr. of Charleston, S.C.; two grandchildren, Jack Pires and Isla Pires, both of Brooklyn; a niece, Mary Beth Collier; and two nephews, Robert Johnston III and Brian Johnston. Additionally, he is survived by his former spouse, Lynne Bunke of Alfred Station and long time companion Robin Caster Howard of Alfred.
Jeffrey had a strong affinity for the environment and championed local environmental causes. He participated in the “Bump the Dump” rallies and supported alternative energy sources for the county. He had a great love of plants and enjoyed his treasured collection of succulents. Through his schooling, traveling, teaching and home life, he fostered and nurtured a continued passion for drawing and was always prepared with sketchbook in hand to put those images to paper. In the late 1970’s he began a series of spherical projection drawings of Italian cities, towns, cathedrals and churches which would take him years to complete. He also had a keen eye through the lense of his camera, capturing some breathtaking moments along the way. Many of his collections were exhibited at Alfred State College.
Jeff was quick to introduce his own brand of humor and wonder to those friends and family that were an important part of his life. To those that knew him as professor, those same qualities allowed him to be an effective and beloved teacher.
A celebration of Jeffrey’s life will be held at his home at 5870 Barber Lane in Alfred on Saturday (March 19) from 3-6 p.m. Additional notification will be sent out via Facebook. There will be another celebration of his life to be held on the grounds of the Sant’Anna Institute in Sorrento, Italy, at a date to be determined.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Alfred State Sorrento Study Abroad Scholarship Fund, C/O Office of Institutional Advancement, Huntington Administration Building, Alfred, NY 14802.
Arrangements are under the direction of Baker-Swan Funeral Home in Andover.