On May 29, 2022 Gloria Belle ”Penny” Johnston of Canon City, CO passed away at the age of 95 in Colorado Springs, CO. As the oldest of 6, she was born February 8, 1927 in Harrisburg, PA to Paul Bargas Henderson and Viola May (Mullens) Henderson. Penny’s dad was a traveling salesman, so they moved around a lot, but finally settled in St. Louis, MO. This is where she met her first husband, Edward Raymond Tillman. She was working as a Western Union Telegraph Operator, waiting for the bus in the rain and he offered to give her a ride. They were married August 13, 1947 in Overland, MO. From this union Candace Marie “Candy” was born. After Edward was honorably discharged from the Navy, they moved to Montana so he could attend school at Montana State University. Back in the day, wives of students going to school on the GI Bill could take classes for free. Penny ended up taking accounting classes and sewed dresses for extra money. After college they moved back to St. Louis and then to Crystola, CO. She spent most of her working career in the banking industry, earning her the nickname of Penny.
Following Edward’s death from a plane crash, she married rancher Glen Johnston of Divide, CO on February 18,1967. In early 1980's they relocated to Canon City where they grew an array of fruits and vegetables and had a blue spruce nursery. Penny and Glen loved to dance, and they could throw a great party. She also had passions for sewing and especially canning where she took her prize-winning canned goods to the Teller and Fremont County Fairs as well as the Colorado State Fair for many years. In Fremont County, they even established the Penny Johnston High Point Open Exhibitor Award that is presented to the Open Fair exhibitor who accumulates the highest number of points. Friends and family often received gifts of jams or jellies with no card, just a new shinny penny glued on top as her calling card. Around town she was affectionately known as the “Pickle Lady”. She was also a member of Eastern Star, active at the Golden Age Center and was an Elkett in Canon City.
Penny is preceded in death by: both her parents, Paul and Viola Henderson, her first husband Edward Tillman in 1964, her second husband Glen Johnston in 1999, son-in-law Larry D. Shoemaker in 2003 and her brother Paul Bargas Henderson Jr. in 2004.
She is survived by: brothers Glen Henderson of Fairfield, VA and Jack Henderson of Phoenix, AZ, sisters Norma Jean Camin of Mt. Airy, NC and Lilla Koenig of Phoenix, AZ, daughter Candy Shoemaker of Divide, CO, step-sons Jerry (Ricki) Johnston of Divide, CO and David (Marcie) Johnston of Denver, grandsons Wade (Dawn) Shoemaker of New Raymer, CO and Chad (Dawn) Johnston of Monument, CO, Jake Allen of Divide, CO, granddaughter Rhonda Dinan of Bennett, CO, great grandchildren Kassandra and Coy Shoemaker, Tori and Caleb Dinan, Sarah and Zane Johnston, Lilly and Dewey Allen.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Penny Johnston Memorial Fund c/o Fremont County Extension Office, 6655 State Hwy 115, Florence, CO 81226, Attn: Becky Chace
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