Reverend Holly Elizabeth Johnston, formerly of Whitinsville, died peacefully Thursday, October 20, 2022, in Life Care Center of Auburn, where she had resided since 2020. Holly is predeceased by her longtime partner and best friend, Irving F. Orrell, Jr. Together they enjoyed traveling to Europe, especially Scotland.
Holly was born in Waterbury, CT, a daughter of the late David and Elizabeth (Murgatroy) Johnston. A graduate of Wolcott High School, in Wolcott, CT, Holly continued her education at the University of Connecticut and Connecticut Central State University, graduating in 1969 with a degree in Philosophy and Psychology and in 1971 she completed a certification in counseling and Special Education at Southern Connecticut State University. While working her way through college, Holly worked for the Southbury Connecticut Training School, providing training and therapy for the program's students. Holly earned a Master of Divinity in 1982, from the Andover Newton Theological School.
In 1971 she began working for the Department of Defense, in the overseas State Department traveling throughout Middle Eastern, Pacific and European countries counselling military and embassy families, providing emotional and physical support, and developing individualized programing for developmentally disabled individuals.
Upon her return to the United States in 1979, Holly began her studies at the Andover Newton Theological School, while simultaneously pastoring at the Rockdale Congregational Church in Northbridge and the First Evangelical Congregational Church in Uxbridge. After 10 years in this capacity, Holly answered the Call to serve the First Congregational Church in Griswold, CT, serving until 1992.
After stepping down from the pulpit, Holly continued working with and caring for people. She worked as a CNA at Beaumont in Northbridge and Westborough, and for many years was a library assistant and the Childrens' Librarian at the Whitinsville Social Library.
Holly's Funeral will be held Friday, October 28, 2022, at 10AM, in the Village Congregational Church, Whitinsville. Burial will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Whitinsville Social Library, 17 Church St., Whitinsville, MA 01588.