Born during World War I in Jerome, Ohio, on June 8, 1917, Iona Johnston has lived through some of the world’s greatest events such as World War II, D-Day, and putting a man on the moon.
Today, Johnston turned 102 years old.
Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Cincinnati, and his wife, Jane, sent a proclamation congratulating Johnston on her 102nd birthday and wishing her well.
In honor of her birthday, Johnston’s family and friends are gathering today for a small celebration at the Delaware Court Health Care Center, 4 New Market Drive, where she now lives.
“I’ve had a good life,” Johnston said earlier this week.
Growing up, Johnston said she was the oldest of six children. She had two brothers, both serving in WWII, and three sisters.
“I’m the oldest of the bunch,” she said. “I always told them that I was the boss, because I was the oldest.”
Johnston said as kids living in the country, they would play hide-and-seek in the woods that was near their home.
Only her youngest sister, Juanita Clements, still survives.
According to Brenda Jenkins, Johnston’s granddaughter, longevity runs in the family.
Johnston’s only child, James Jenkins, who lives in Maine with his wife, is a retired truck driver, and when he was driving on a short trip, Johnston would tag along for fun. She also enjoyed spending time with her brother, James Thomas, in the mountains along the Appalachian Trail in New Jersey.
Jenkins said Johnston lived at the Georgetown Assisted Senior Living Apartments in Delaware for 25 years before she moved to Delaware Court in October 2018. She also said Johnston was still driving a car at 98 years old.
Johnston worked for the General Motors Corporation in Columbus for 25 years, only to retire and move to Missouri to work for a book bindery company. After working there for 30 years, she retired for good. However, while working for the company, she lost a finger while operating a punch machine.
Johnston has five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and eight great-great-grandchildren.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.