Joe was born in Moab, Utah, on Jan. 17, 1959, to Joe and Dolly (Palmer) Johnston. The family moved to Alaska three months later, where he spent the first four years of his young life. Joe started school in Cortez, Colo., then moved to the Grand Valley, where he completed his schooling, graduating from Fruita Monument High School in 1977. He was active in school sports, lettering in wrestling and football. Through his mother’s heritage Joe was a registered member of the Choctaw Nation.
Joe started working for pay while still in high school and became skilled in construction work and developed a liking for farm and ranch life, later becoming manager of the Gateway Ranch near Lake City, Colo. He was an avid archer and bowhunter, at one time becoming a registered guide specializing in lion hunting.
Joe is survived by his parents, Joe and Dolly of Fruita, Colo.; his two sons, Jameson, born to Kathleen (Murphy) and Jack, born to Vonda (Christian); his two stepchildren, Christopher and Allison Athey of Powderhorn, Colo.; brother, Jon (Lisa) of Grand Junction; sisters, Meta of Powderhorn, Colo., and Dana (Joe) Elliott of Grand Junction; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles; and the rekindled love of his first wife, Angie Bornshein, who shared his life and work on the Nottingham Ranch.
Services will be held at Canyonview Vineyards Chapel, 736 24-1/2 Road, Grand Junction, Colo., on Saturday, March 30, at 11 a.m.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Historic Preservation, P. O. Box 1210, Durant, OK, 74701.