Karen Johnston Profile Photo

Karen Johnston

April 15, 1939 — April 17, 2018

Karen Johnston

Karen McKinney Johnston, 79, of Austin passed away peacefully at her home on April 17, 2018.
Karen was born in Beeville, Texas, on April 15, 1939, to Wallace E. McKinney and Bess Church McKinney. She was a fifth generation Texan and a descendant of Elijah Ray, an early settler (1847) and successful cattleman in Bee and Goliad counties.
Karen graduated from A.C. Jones High School in May, 1956. She was President of her Senior Class and involved in many groups and school activities. An accomplished vocalist and pianist, Karen attended the University of Texas, initially studying in the School of Music and later switching to Elementary Education. She was Treasurer of her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, was an advisor for Littlefield dormitory, and participated in many campus activities. In 1958, Karen was presented as a Duchess in the Corpus Christi Coronation Buccaneer Ball. She graduated from U.T. in May, 1960.
In 1957, on summer break from U.T., Karen met the handsome Lt. Burrell D. Johnston USN, at a party at the Beeville Country Club. Burrell was stationed at Chase Field in Beeville while preparing for his duty on the USS Bon Homme Richard as a naval fighter pilot. They began a long distance courtship. After Karen's graduation she began teaching at Fadden-McKeown-Chambliss Elementary School in Beeville. After Burrell completed his active duty the couple married on January 28, 1962. They lived briefly in the San Francisco Bay area before moving to Austin for Burrell to attend the University of Texas School of Law. They had two daughters, Anne Elizabeth (Libby) Johnston Danks, and Anna (Lisa) Johnston Irvin.
Karen was involved with many organizations in Austin. She was a docent with the Austin Nature Center, a volunteer for Seton Hospital, a fundraiser for KLRU auctions, and a member of The Heritage Society. In 1975, she joined The Women's Symphony League of Austin. She was a member of its Simple Simon group which performed and sang to elementary school children in the Austin area. This allowed her to do what she loved most, spreading the joy of music through education to the children of Austin. She co-chaired the Waterloo Festivals and was the Secretary of the Symphony Square Committee. Karen and Burrell were members of Las Amigas de Acapulco and co-founders of The Austin Children's Shelter. Together they co-chaired many of the fine wine auctions for The American Heart Association, The Austin Symphony Orchestra, and many other organizations. They were season ticket holders and passionate supporters of the Austin Symphony for over 40 years.
Karen and Burrell were members of The Argyle Club in San Antonio, The Headliners Club in Austin, Westwood Country Club in Austin, The Army Navy Club in Washington DC, The New York Yacht Club, and The English Speaking Union in Austin. They are lifetime members of Texas Exes and longtime season ticket holders and supporters of the U.T. Football Team.
During Karen's father's illness she began a long career as a rancher and cattlewoman. She oversaw all aspects of the family's ranches and spent many years travelling to and from South Texas. She passed down to her children a love and respect of land, her heritage, and the responsibility that it bears. She had deep faith in God and truly believed that the tough times never last, but tough people do.
Karen had a wonderful life with a husband she loved and adored, and a family that loved and adored her. She always had a positive attitude and was truly one of the nicest and kindest people one could ever meet.
She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Beeville and attended Covenant Presbyterian Church of Austin. Karen is survived by her husband Burrell; her daughter Libby Johnston Danks and Lisa Johnston Irvin and her husband Richard, and her grandchildren Wesley McKinney Danks; Morgan Elizabeth Irvin, Emma Louise Irvin and Helen Grace Irvin, all of Austin. She is also survived by her much loved cousin Edward C. Bush and his wife Cindy Fromherz of New Orleans, LA, and numerous cousins in the Beeville area.
We would like to acknowledge with the utmost love and appreciation our mother's companion and caregiver - and our friend Maria Marin. With her kind and loving words and care we knew Karen was very well loved each and every day. We would also like to thank Blanca Soto and Kindred Hospice for the care they provided.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 28, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 908 N. Washington St., Beeville, Texas 78102.
Honorary Pallbearers will be the members of the A.C. Jones Class of 1956.
Arrangements by Galloway and Sons Funeral Home, Beeville, Texas.
A Celebration of Karen's Life will be held in June in Austin, Texas.


Service


Funeral Service

First Presbyterian Church
908 N. Washington
Beeville, TX  78102
Saturday, April 21, 2018
1:00 p.m.

Cemetery


Glenwood Cemetery
East Hefferman St.
Beeville, TX  78102
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karen Johnston, please visit our flower store.

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