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Jean Marie Johnston

Jean Marie Johnston passed away peacefully with family and cherished close friends by her side, May 29, 2024.

She is survived by and will be deeply missed by her siblings, Elizabeth (Brian) Zorn and Gerald (Noam) van Heerden; stepdaughters, Elizabeth and Julia Johnston; Kurt Begemann; aunts, Maureen van Heerden and Terry Begemann; nieces and nephews: Meghan, Joshua, Conor (Funkie), Corey, and Chris (Maggie); cousins Lynn (Dan) Fuglestad and Lois Anderson; as well as multiple great-nieces and great-nephews. She was predeceased by her beloved parents Lawrence and Jeanette van Heerden; brothers, Walter and Larry van Heerden.

Jean earned a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from Simmons College in 1985, and a master’s degree in social work from San Diego State University in 1988. She worked full-time until her retirement at the end of 2019.

Throughout her life, Jean had significant health challenges. She never let them decrease her boundless optimism or love of life. Instead, she embraced them as gifts giving her perspective and gratitude. Her life philosophy was all about cherishing every day, having loving, kind and compassionate relationships with her family and many close friends, and always having fun. In her words: “I have lived a full life and feel richly blessed.” Typical Jean, again in her words: “I will be watching over family and friends from a distance. You will see and hear me in nature.”

A Celebration of Jean Marie’s life will be held at a later date in Acton, MA. The family thanks you for your patience and kindness during this time. Donations may be made in her memory to The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation ( or Donate Life America ( Most important to Jean Marie, please consider being an organ donor!

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