James Adam Johnston was a teacher-athletic trainer, education advocate, active cyclist, and most importantly a family man. Though only 56 years old when he was tragically killed during one of his regular bike rides on March 13, 2014, he made a vast impact in his community.
Who is Jim?
A true Nebraska native, Jim was born and raised in Nebraska where he married his high school sweetheart, Patty, and had two children, Lindsay and Michael. As a graduate of Wayne State College, Jim found his passion and focused his life helping and caring for others. He dedicated 33 years as both a science teacher and athletic trainer at first Millard North High School and then Millard West High School. Jim used his time at these high schools to inspire young people to pursue futures in healthcare. Next to his family, his three life passions were caring for people, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and cycling.
Caring for People
Each year, he would assist his students in organizing 2 or 3 blood drives. His blood drives culminated in approximately 4,339 units of blood, with the potential to impact 13,000 people. After retiring from teaching in 2013, Jim served as the athletic trainer at Millard West High School through Alegent Health. Many may remember him for changing licensing laws for athletic trainers in Nebraska schools, his dedication to student wellness on and off the field, or his passion for teaching, but he is most fondly remembered by his students for his kind, caring, and humorous approach to education and athletics.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers
Jim spent Saturdays in fall, like the rest of the state of Nebraska, cheering on Husker football. He was referred to as an eternal optimist for his non-stop support of his team. His children fondly remember the Saturday game day traditions spent with their dad, and continue to carry it on.
As Jim neared retirement, he became more focused training for his annual bicycle rides with his brothers’ cycling team the JBROS. Annually, Jim and his brothers would make their trek to Colorado where they would charge up the mountain of the year. Jim's brothers took a final ride together up Mount Evans in August where his family paid a special tribute to him on top of the mountain.