Dennis Ray Johnston, 58, son of Rev. Silas and Phyllis (Raney) Johnston, was born June 22, 1961, in Springfield and went to his Heavenly home July 1, 2019, in El Dorado Springs.

Dennis was saved at the age of nine in a church in Ohio and began preaching the Gospel at the age of 17.

He was united in marriage to Leana Thomas on Oct. 4, 1980, in the Trinity Free Will Baptist Church of Cabool. Four children were born to this union.

Dennis had a passion for serving Jesus Christ and spreading the Gospel message. He took God’s calling on his life serious and was always looking for opportunities to lead others to the Lord. He loved serving as pastor and had served at several different churches over the years including New Hope Free Will Baptist of Ava, Union Chapel Free Will Baptist of Mountain Grove, Tyrone Free Will Baptist of Tyrone, Skyline Full Gospel of Skyline, Calvary General Baptist of West Plains, Peach Tree General Baptist of Piedmont, and Beverly Park General Baptist of Rockford, IL. At the time of his passing, Dennis was serving as pastor at Bethel Free Will Baptist of El Dorado Springs.

Dennis also enjoyed playing bluegrass music. One of the highlights in his life was playing with his family for four years at Silver Dollar City. He was very proud of his upbringing and made sure to pass on to his childrenthe heritage of bluegrass gospel music that his parents instilled in him.

Dennis was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing and playing golf. His greatest joy in life was spending time with his family and especially his grandchildren. Many wonderful memories have been made over the years with various friends and family. He leaves behind a multitude of family and friends that were blessed by knowing him, but most importantly, blessed because he shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dennis was preceded in death by his father, Rev. Silas Johnston, and an infant son.

He is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Leana    Johnston, of the home; one son, Matthew Johnston, and wife, Taleah, of Sarcoxie; two daughters, Stacy Brown and husband, Josh, of Rogersville, and Chelsea Davis and husband, Izaak, of Branson; six grandchildren – Sylvia, Maelena, Omigie, Silas, Paisley and Zane; his mother, Phyllis Wade, of Mountain Grove; one brother, Alan Johnston, and wife, Linda, of Rogersville; one sister, Bonnie McGownd, and husband, Derwin, of Mountain Grove; and a host of other relatives and friends who will miss him greatly.

Services were held Wednesday, July 3, in the Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home with Rev. David Mathis and Rev. Ron Hardt officiating. Special songs were “When I Lay Down to Take My Rest”, “Your Dearest Friend” and “Heart That Will Never Break Again.” Pallbearers were Tim McGownd,  Michael  Johnston, Herbie Johnston, Billy Mason, Jimmy Loane and Nathan Woodard. Honorary Pallbearers were Derwin McGownd and Sawyer Williams. Burial was in the Pleasant Home Cemetery of Drury, under the direction of the Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home, Mountain Grove. Memorial contributions may be made to Gideons in care of the funeral home.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 28, at Bethell Free Will Baptist Church, 1200 Summer, El Dorado Springs.

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