Margaret Johnston

Margaret Johnston

PETERSBURG – Margaret "Peg" Johnston of Petersburg, formerly of Piper City, passed away peacefully at 11 a.m. Friday (Nov. 1, 2013) at Sunny Acres Nursing Home in Petersburg.

Visitation will be at 11 a.m. and the funeral at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, at the First Presbyterian Church in Piper City.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Piper City Historical Society or the Presbyterian Church. Condolences may be offered to the family at

Margaret Wilson was born July 4, 1916, in rural Chatsworth. She was the second daughter and third child of Clyde and Ella Wilson. Her parents, brother, sister and her husband have preceded her in death.

Peg married Mitchell "Mitch" O. Johnston on June 22, 1939. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to Washington, D.C., to work in the FBI fingerprint department. When Peg's father died in 1941, the couple returned to Piper City and began farming.

The couple had three children, Jeffrey (Jan) Johnston, Janet (Joe) Saban and Mac (Norma) Johnston; seven grandchildren; five stepgrandchildren (one deceased); and numerous great-grandchildren.

While helping Mitch farm, Peg worked as a telephone operator and later for Doran's Insurance and Real Estate Agency. In 1966, she and Mitch bought the Piper City Journal, a weekly newspaper that Peg edited for 17 years.

Peg loved to write. She wrote a weekly column, Peggin Piper, for the Journal. The column won second place in the Illinois Newspaper Contest in 1971.

In 1969 she wrote the centennial history of Piper City, "Wagons to Wings," and she wrote much of a later history, "Follow the Piper." She co-authored with Ada Bork a book titled "Historic Ford County and Nearby Places."

She also wrote a family history titled "Our Scottish Forebears" for her children which was published by her daughter, Janet, in honor of Peg's 80th birthday. Peg also wrote a column for the Purple Martin News, a national magazine published at the purple martin capital of the world, Griggsville, Ill.

Peg served three terms on the Piper City school board before consolidation. She has been co-president of the PTA with her husband, Mitch. She holds the longest continuous membership in the Monday Night Circle (a local reading club), having joined in 1942.

She was a charter member of the Junior Women's Club, the Ford County Historical Society and the Piper City Historical Society. She was a Girl Scout Leader and a leader of the 55+ Club. She is a member of the Governor Thomas Ford Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Peg and Mitch were longtime members of the First Presbyterian Church in Piper City. At various times, both were elders and served in church leadership.

In 2001, at the age of 85, Peg moved to Monticello. In 2006, she moved to the Illinois Presbyterian Home in Springfield. In 2010, she moved to Sunny Acres Nursing Home in Petersburg.