In Memory

Jim (Jj) Johnston - Class Of 1954

James Thomas Johnston, Sr. “JJ”, age 85, of Hobart passed away Monday, August 31, 2020 at The North Woods Village Care Center in Mishawaka.  “JJ” was born September 22, 1934 in Gary, Indiana to the late David and Patricia (Yucus) Johnston.  He was a schoolteacher and coach with the Hobart High School for over 40 years.  James received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Purdue University and his Masters of Education Degree from Indiana State University.   He loved coaching, wood carving, hunting, fishing, weightlifting, Classic Cars, and spending time with his family.
James is survived by his loving wife, Sharon of Hobart; two sons, James Thomas (Heather)Johnston, Jr. of Hobart and Robert (Kristine) Johnston of Granger; five grandchildren, Riley Johnston, Cody Johnston, Lindsay (Jack) Rozman, Alyssa (Matt) Mentz and Kyle Johnston; three great-grandchildren, Zeke Johnston, Zane Evans and Charlee Mentz; two sisters, Alice Lavery of Grapevine, TX and Florence (Fred) Belashky of St. Petersburg, FL; and many nieces and nephews.
“JJ” was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, David, Chuck and Robert Johnston.
Visitation will be from 1-7 pm Friday, September 11, 2020 at Rees Funeral Home 600 W. Old Ridge Road Hobart, Indiana 46342 and from 9 am until the time of his service at 12 noon on Saturday, September 12, 2020 at the funeral home.  A memorial service will begin at 12 or 12:30 pm Saturday. Burial will follow in Graceland Cemetery in Valparaiso.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations are preferred to the Hobart High School Athletic Department, 2211 E. 10th St. Hobart, In. or 219-942-8521.
The Memorial Services for James will be live streamed on Facebook at
This information was obtained from: The picture was obtained from the 1954 HHS Memories yearbook, made available by the Lake County Public Library, at:

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10/01/20 04:10 PM #1    

Fred Higgenbottom (1966)

We called him "coach" and he was my teacher as well as my basketball coach while a student at HJHS in 1962. 

I remember the nation experiencing the fear of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis and him discussing it with us during class to help relieve some of our stress. I also remember receiving swats from both coach Johnson and Art Vinson with a plexiglass paddle that had holes drilled in it. The swats were the punishment for missing layups during basketball practice on a rim that was artificially reduced and then being forced to administer the same to the teammate who was the next poor soul to miss. 
He was the first teacher I had who challenged me to think critically and to search relentlessly for an answer to the mystery of life in an unending quest to learn the purpose for my life. I'm now 72 years old and although still on that quest regarding the purpose of life will NEVER forget the impact this man had upon my life.  RIP

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