Paula Johnston

Paula Johnston, 75, of Beloit, Wisconsin, died April 29, 2024 in Tucson, Arizona, from glioblastoma and chronic Lyme disease.

Born Feb. 10 1949 in Beloit, Wisconsin, to Melvin “Mel” and Mildred “Dickie” Evenson, Paula’s dedication to music began at a young age, leading her to pursue a lifelong journey as a pianist, violinist, and educator. After graduating from Cornell College with a degree in Music Education, she embarked on a teaching career, igniting a passion for music in the hearts of countless students over five decades. She taught in Beloit WI, Concord CA, Geneva NY, Thompson’s Station TN, and Tucson, Arizona, before retiring due to health reasons. Her students remember her for her patience, kindness, and immensely generous spirit, instilling in them a love for the arts, and an appreciation for the dedication necessary to become skilled musicians. 

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Paula was a loving wife and mother. She and her husband, Gary Johnston, met in college and continued to support each other through life's joys and challenges over 50 years of marriage. Together, they raised three daughters and instilled in them the values of gratitude, laughter, and the importance of pursuing one's passions. As a mother, Paula’s warmth and unconditional love was extended not only to her immediate family, but also to the many children in her life — five nieces, two grandchildren, and numerous friends-of-friends who became her “honorary children” and she offered encouragement to them in times of uncertainty and celebrated their triumphs with great pride. 

In her spare time, Paula enjoyed reading, listening to music, caring for her beautiful African violets (she was too humble to say so, but she definitely had a green thumb) and she had an immense curiosity about the world around her, often reading and sending articles about the latest scientific discovery to her friends and loved ones. She was also an active member of the Lyme Disease Association of Southern Arizona, giving her time and energy to individuals and families seeking help. 

Though she has bid farewell to this world, Paula’s spirit was nothing short of luminous and will forever remain alive in the cherished memories of her family, friends, and students. Her legacy of love, compassion, and music will continue to inspire and uplift all who were touched by her presence and will continue to resonate through generations. 

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made to the Lyme Disease Association of Southern Arizona, in honor of Paula’s commitment to finding a cure. 

A memorial service will be held at Lake City Cemetery on May 15th at 11 AM, where family and friends will gather to enjoy music and pay tribute to a remarkable woman who left an indelible mark on all who knew her. 

May her music echo through the hearts of those who loved her.

Paula is survived by her husband, Gary Johnston, daughters, Erika Johnston, Aimee Baker, and Allison Johnston, and grandchildren, Ainsley Baker, and Evelyn Baker. She is predeceased by her parents, Melvin and Mildred Evenson, her sister, Sharon (Evenson) Rogers, and her infant daughter, Adrienne Michelle Johnston.

Visit Lampe Powers online.


The Graphic-Advocate

The Graphic-Advocate 
121 North Center St.
Lake City, IA 51449
Phone: (641) 456-2585

Mid-America Publishing

This newspaper is part of the Mid-America Publishing Family. Please visit for more information.