Cover photo for John Johnston's Obituary

John Johnston

November 8, 1925 — May 25, 2021

John Johnston, 95, of Charlotte, North Carolina passed away on May 25, 2021.  Born November 8, 1925 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England to the late Francis John Johnston and Catherine Reid (Stephenson) Johnston.

While a student, he expressed a desire to be a missionary in China, but the onset of World War II changed his plans.  He joined the Royal Air Force at the age of 18 and shortly thereafter was selected to attend a top secret school-Radar. He spent the war maintaining the airborne radar as the bombers went out night after night.  When he was billeted in Hull, Yorkshire, he asked the next door neighbor out on his first date. It was her 17th birthday, our mom, the late Valerie (McMillan) Johnston. They were to marry after the war.

Following the war, he was to embark on a career that was his lifelong passion, pressure sensitive adhesives-Tape!  This career spanned 70 years, finally retiring completely when his eyesight would no longer allow him to continue at the age of 94.

His talents as a researcher were recognized when he was recruited by Dr. William Scholl to join his research team at Arno Tapes in Michigan City, Indiana.  Dr. Scholl sponsored the immigration of the family to the United States in February, 1959.

During John's career, he became a prolific researcher, once developing 18 new tape products in 18 months.  His career rose to Vice President of Research and Development, and subsequently a consultant to the tape industry around the world, including Germany, Canada, Mexico, Peru, and China.

John holds multiple patents relating to the tape industry including the one of which he is most proud, Duct Tape.  He authored the textbook of the tape industry, “Pressure Sensitive Adhesives, A Guide to Their Function, Design, Manufacture, and Use”.  John also authored several chapters in other publications in the industry, as well as numerous papers relating to the field.  Many of the papers were presented at both national and international conferences.  In 1973, he presented the first technical paper to a round table of his peers.  This annual presentation is now known as “The John Johnston Adhesive Technology Session”.

In 1958, from London University, John received bachelor of science degrees in Chemistry, Physics, Pure Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, with a diploma in Nuclear Energy.  His interest in education continued as he taught Junior School post war and taught first and second year Chemistry and Creative Thinking as an adjunct professor at Purdue University.  John continued teaching not only in the industry but as a lecturer at the FBI Academy.  He continued to consult with the FBI on difficult cases where tape was a part of the forensic evidence.  The National Archives searched out his expertise in restoring documents damaged by tape.

John authored “Strong by Night, History and Memories of No. 149 (East India) Squadron, Royal Air Force, 1918/19-1937 /56”.  This is one of the squadrons he served during World War II.

John's accomplishments included the War Medal 1939-1945 (UK), Defense Medal (UK), NASA consultant for adhesives used in the Space Program, Honorary Life Member of the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council of North America (1999), Man of the Year of the American Society of Conservators (2006), Lifetime Achievement Award of the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council of North America (2006), American Academy of Forensic Science Regional award--Southwestern Association (2007), and the FBI Appreciation Award (2008 and 2012).

Surviving John are his sons, Ian, Trevor and Alan; 10 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; and 3 great, great-grandchildren with one on the way.

John was preceded in death by his parents; brother; 5 sisters; wives, Valerie (McMillan) and Naruse (Hunsche); and one grandchild.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 12 pm on Saturday, June 5, 2021 at Cutler Funeral Home and Cremation Center with Pastor Rick Jones officiating.  Burial will follow at Pine Lake Cemetery.

A time of visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday at the funeral home.

Memorial donations may be made to the La Porte County Small Animal Shelter, 2855 West State Road 2, La Porte, IN 46350.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, June 5, 2021

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Add to Calendar

Cutler Funeral Home and Cremation Center

2900 Monroe Street
La Porte, IN 46350

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life Service

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Starts at 12:00 pm (Central time)

Add to Calendar

Cutler Funeral Home and Cremation Center

2900 Monroe Street
La Porte, IN 46350

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

*Standard text messaging rates apply.



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