133 Mason St., Onalaska, WI • Call (608) 788-2188


Robert “Bob” A. Johnston

October 20, 2022 | 14 comments

Robert “Bob” Arthur Johnston, 79, of Onalaska, passed away on October 16, 2022 at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.  He was born on June 27, 1943 in Shellsburg, WI, to Arthur and Wilma (Garvey) Johnston.  Bob married Barbara Bertler on October 15, 1966 at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral in La Crosse.

Bob loved the Lord Jesus with all his heart.  He knew he would pass this life to heaven and was told “Well done my good and faithful servant”.  He loved mission work whether in North and Central America, Jamaica and especially in Southeast Asia.  He had many missionary friends all over the world.  He believed in their work and enjoyed being a handyman or helping however he could when on trips.  His selfless service will be missed by many.

Bob enjoyed hunting, fishing, playing cards and wood working.  Bob worked at G. Heileman Brewery for 40 years.  He enjoyed being in the company of others whether that was family, old friends or new friends.  He really enjoyed people.  His special talent was finding time to help others in any way he was able.  His real passion in this world was family especially his beloved grandchildren, that is where he reveled in the treasures of this world.

Bob served in the WI National Guard from 1964-1970.  He was a member of the Onalaska American Legion and really enjoyed playing euchre there.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara; children, Michael (Sara) Johnston, Stephen (Andrea) Johnston, Stacia (Brad) Johnston-Lyga; grandchildren, Brenton, Ian, Paityn; siblings, Karen Tooke, Bruce (Susie) Johnston, Brent (Penny) Johnston, Pam McLaurin; brother-in-law, Tom Bahr; and many other relatives and friends.

Bob is preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Judy Bahr, Gale (Fred) Bahr; and brother-in-law, Roger Tooke.

Memorials are preferred in lieu of flowers in memory of Robert Johnston to LTC Global Development Foundation, Inc., 3304 Nathan Lane, Holmen, WI 54636.  Funds will be a blessing to the missions that Bob worked with and supported.

His Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, October 29, 2022 at 1:00 pm at First Free Church, 123 Mason St., Onalaska with visitation from 11:00 am until the time of the service at the church.  There will be a meal served following the service.  Pastor Shane Holden will celebrate.

Click here to livestream his funeral




  1. Colleen Lake

    Bob and Barb selflessly opened their home to me to stay while on a work trip to the La Crosse area and I am grateful to their loving and sharing spirits. Barb, you are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Sending my love, -Colleen Lake

    • Tony and Tina

      We will both remember Bob fondly! Our deepest condolences to Barb, MIchael, and all the family! Our thoughts and prayers are with you! Sending our love,
      Tony and Tina

  2. Kimberly

    Condolences to all the family. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Kim and John Resch

  3. Carla Brott

    My condolences to you and your families Barb and Pam. Prayers for you all.
    Carla Brott

  4. Yvonne Johnston

    Bob was a good and kind man. I was very privileged to know Bob for several years and he’ll be sadly missed by many. Thinking of you Barb and your entire family.

  5. Larry Jensen

    I met Bob through the different men’s group and always revered him as he told of the many ways in the mission field he made a difference to further the kingdom. He has finally been called home from the mission field! I’ll miss his laugh and big smile. I just can’t believe he won’t be there on Friday mornings at our men’s group anymore. Thinking of you Barb and family.

  6. Amanda LeCleir Bue

    I grew up knowing Bob and Barb because I was super close friends with their daughter Stacia. I have so many memories of him and Barb. He was always so happy and fun to be around. I loved being at their house for sleepovers or just to hang
    Out. They always made you feel
    Welcomed. I’m so sorry to the family for their loss. I will be praying for their loss hearts to mend.

  7. Ella J Payment

    Bob is ( now alive in Heaven) one of the sweetest men I knew.
    Always encouraging and ready to serve. Barb, though he is in Heaven I’m sure you miss him dearly. I will be praying for you and your family. With much love, Ella

  8. Doug Huggett

    My prayers and condolences to you Barb and your family. The connections with you and Bob through other friends in Christ are truly a blessing. We know there is a Heavenly reunion occurring with those who have gone before, and we will join them one day! I know God’s Grace will sustain you in the days ahead as you join those of us who are separated physically from our life’s partners, but are spiritually joined for eternity. RIP servant of God, Bob Johnston.🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻

  9. Roxi Nehring

    Brent I’m so sorry to read of your brother’s passing. It sounds like he was a wonderful man that gave so much to others. My heart goes out to you and your family in this difficult time. My deepest sympathy to your family.

    • Mike and Terri Coady

      Bob was a true Christian and showed us that by the way he lived his life. He was a warm, humble man who always saw the good in those he encountered. God bless Barb and their extended…we know that someday you’ll all be reunited in Heaven.

  10. Dee Paque

    I read with great sadness of Bob’s passing. I always enjoyed running into Bob and his warm smile. Prayers and thoughts are with you all
    Dee Dee

  11. Sue Hubble (Arizona)

    I will miss his contagious smile and his energy.
    His love for our Heavenly Father and our Savior
    Jesus Christ was undeniably his life.
    So he’s home now.
    Sending a my love to Barb and Family

  12. Tracey Melvin

    Bob will truly be missed by his euchre family. A very kind hearted soul. Tracey


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