Jerry Don Johnston, 78 of Poteau, passed July 18, 2021 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Born Jan. 27, 1943 in Heavener to Pat and Juanita (Mason) Johnston, Jerry graduated from Heavener High School in 1961, where he was a four-sport athlete selected to play in the Oklahoma All State Football Game.
Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Thursday at the Heavener First Baptist Church with Phil McGeehee, Jim Cook, Matt Pollard, and Paley Pollard officiating. Burial will follow in Heavener Memorial Park in Heavener, the direction of Dowden-Roberts Funeral Home of Heavener, Oklahoma.
Jerry began his coaching career in 1966 at his alma mater Heavener High School. He and Donna Moore were married on Aug. 5, 1967 at the Heavener First Baptist Church. In 1968, he and Donna moved to Okemah where in 1976 the Panthers won the state championship and Jerry was Oklahoma Coach of the Year. He coached at several Oklahoma schools, eventually settling in Poteau, where he coached for 21 years.
An active member of the Oklahoma Coaches Association for 54 years, Jerry served as Vice-President and President and in 2002 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
He enjoyed spending time with his family and also loved sports of any kind, especially football. He stayed close to several of his previous students, fellow coaches and friends through the years. Jerry also served in the United States Army Reserves.
Jerry is survived by his wife of 54 years, Donna Johnston of Poteau; his daughter Jerra and son-in-law Matt, grandchildren Jack, Maddie, Jewel, and Johnston of Edmond; daughter Jeana Pollard and son-in-law Matt, grandchildren Paley, Paven, Pacie, Praise, Paran and Pearly of Poteau; sisters-in-law Jana Baker and Jeri Shuler; special niece Jonna Decker; double cousin Mary Evelyn Ford; cousin Johnny Johnston; and several great nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
He is preceded in death by his daughter Maegan Jackie Johnston; his parents Pat and Juanita Johnston; and sister Patsy Todd.
Pallbearers are Merl Moss, Pierre Guillet, Tracy Saling, Andy Perdue, Earl Jobe and Robert Swinford.
Honorary pallbearers are Butch Gilstrap, Bob Craig, Ronnie Sands, Kenny Ames, Jerry West, Jim Norwood, Jerry Pruitt, Isaac Roberts, Dan Brook and Sherwood Anderson.
Viewing is from noon until 8 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home.
To sign Jerry’s online guestbook please visit www.dowdenrobertsfuneralhome.com.