The death took place on Monday December 31, 2018, after a short illness, at Belfast City Hospital, of Brona Johnston of Molesworth Road, Cookstown.
Brona was born and brought up in Dungannon, the younger daughter of Walter and Betty Magrath and younger sister of Lynne and Mark.
She was educated at Royal School Dungannon (then Dungannon High School for Girls), where she displayed precocious acting skills. It was little surprise therefore that on leaving school she chose to read English and Theatre Studies at the University of Warwick. After further study at Queen’s Belfast her love of literature (she was rarely without a book in hand) led her to pursue her early career as a librarian, initially in Kent and subsequently in Hertfordshire, where she had particular responsibility for developing the schools’ library service.
It was whilst studying at Queen’s that Brona met Terry Johnston, whom she married in 1988. Following the birth of their first son in Hertfordshire they returned to live in Dungannon, where a second son was born, before settling in Cookstown in 1995 shortly before the birth of twin boys.
Brona dedicated the next stage of her life to raising her four sons, instilling in all of them a sense of right and wrong, the importance of education and a love of life, literature, history, walking and, of course, cold water swimming! She delighted in and was rightly (and modestly) proud of their many and diverse achievements.
Brona was a well known and popular member of her local community, as evidenced by the large attendance at her funeral in Derryloran Parish Church. She was an active member of the congregation there, where, amongst other things, she devoted her considerable resources to the Christian Aid committee and was a not infrequent Bible reader at Sunday morning services.
In the local community Brona was a history tour guide at Springhill and an active member and former President of Desertcreat Women’s Institute. In her role with Save the Children her warm smiling face and ever present sense of humour were a welcome sight to all those who came into contact with her.
As the children grew older, and the demands of motherhood lost some of their intensity, Brona again became a regular attender at Queen’s, indulging her love of history by studying a varied range of historical subjects.
Brona, was also a keen traveller, having visited many parts of Europe as well as America. Particular highlights were a trip to Australia, meeting up with her oldest son who was then living there, and a parish trip to The Holy Land. These trips enabled her to indulge in another of her favourite pastimes – walking. Whilst walking closer to home she was invariably accompanied by her Jack Russell, Lucky. But Brona was a sociable, fun-loving, gregarious character and, with or without a glass of white wine in hand, was rarely happier than when in the company of her family and friends. She was often to be found, accompanied by her mother, in Cookstown, Dungannon or her beloved Portstewart.
Brona is survived by her husband Terry and four sons, Robin, Michael, Ian and Tony.
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