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Obituary: Johnstone, Fay D.

Age 86

JOHNSTONE, Fay D. (Age 86) Of Spokane Valley, passed away September 9, 2013 surrounded by his family. He was born in Spokane on August 28, 1927 to Earl and Erna Fett Johnstone. Fay graduated from Lewis & Clark High School and studied business at Eastern Washington State College. He married Carmel M. Pontieri on September 2, 1949, with whom he enjoyed 61 years of marriage before her passing in 2011. With entrepreneurial spirit in his DNA and a passion for salesmanship in his heart; Fay’s career began selling household goods and building materials for Marshall Wells and Jensen-Byrd. He was a top salesman for Pabco Paint and was transferred to Portland, Oregon in 1954 where he spent nine rainy months before moving back to Spokane to open his first business— Builders’ Bargain Supply in the Spokane Valley. He then opened Plywood Distributors, Spokane Kitchen and Countertops, and Totem Home Centers. He spent the twilight of his career as the well-known face of Greenthumb Nursery selling beautiful flowers and plants, including the first Super Petunias and upside-down tomatoes available in Spokane. Fay was a member of Rotary International for 49 years and was honored with the Paul Harris Fellow award in 1985. He proudly hosted more than 12 exchange students from around the world, with many of whom he maintained a lifelong relationship. Despite working six and often seven days per week at his businesses, Fay made time to play tennis multiple times per week into his 70’s as part of a lifelong emphasis on health and fitness. An accomplished high school athlete himself, Fay was a huge WSU Cougars, Gonzaga, Seahawks, and Mariners fan. He also enjoyed fishing, hunting game birds, and foraging for huckleberries. He is survived by his daughter, Nancy Nishimura (Hideaki); grandson, Joel Robinson (Kazumi); granddaughter Laurel Henderson (Michael); two great-grandsons, Quinn Henderson and Taizo Robinson and one great-granddaughter Maya Robinson. He is also survived by his “favorite niece”, Therese Witter; three other nieces, seven nephews and his sweet dog, Sophie. Funeral services will be held at 10:00am Saturday, September 21 at St. John Vianney Church, 503 N. Walnut Rd., Spokane Valley.