Serving the community since 1970

Former Shafter Mayor Jon Johnston dies

Jon Johnston, a former mayor, City Council member and community leader for over two decades, died last week. He was 83.

Johnston served on the council for many years, as well as being mayor beginning in 2012. Johnston began his service on the council in 1998. He also was a member on the Shafter Kiwanis board for many years.

Johnston was active in the community, serving on several city and school committees, and was active in his church, Shafter's First Southern Baptist Church.

Johnston was remembered by local residents as an honorable man who loved his God, family and community, and also as a humble man.

"Jon was a great man who was willing to take the necessary steps to help shape Shafter into what we have today. He was always active in the community, regardless of what it was, and he will be missed by all," commented Mayor Pro-Tem Chad Givens.

Mayor Cathy Prout had similar sentiments when learning of his passing. "I am deeply saddened by the passing of my dear friend who I worked with for 16 years. You could always count on Jon for his passion and commitment to the city, doing whatever it takes to get the city moving in the right direction."

Prout also said that Johnston was a team player, who had strong opinions but was also open-minded enough to yield if it would mean the betterment of the city.

"Jon is not with us any longer, but he will always be in our minds and in our hearts," Prout said.

Johnston was a part of the council when the Shafter Vision Project was developed, giving the city its direction and making its goals for the future. Johnston was a key part of that plan, as he and the other members forged the way and had the future of Shafter in their mind as they made decisions that resulted in Shafter becoming one of the most financially stable cities in the county and the state.

Johnston was also a devoted husband to his wife, Toni, caring for her when necessary, and so giving of his time and attention.

John Guinn, who was the Shafter city manager for many years, said that Johnston was truly one of the finest men that he had ever known. Guinn said that he was a caring and helpful friend who he will miss very much.

"He made me and everyone around him better. He was always giving and never taking. He did so many things for so many people and did it lovingly and graciously. You could always count on him to be there when you needed him. He never compromised his values and helped you to do the right thing. I will miss him very much."


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