John Peel Johnston passed away November 9, 2018

Mr. John Peel Johnston, 63, of Newport departed this life on Friday, November 9th, 2018, at his home. 

            He is survived by two sisters, Cindy Sweat (Gene) of Newport and Rachel Shankles (Conrad) of Bismarck; nephew, Daren Sweat (Ginger) of Maumelle; nieces, Missy Hodo of Newport, Nan Means (Scott) of Hot Springs, Amy Hutto (Marcus) of Damascus, and many other loved ones. Special family friends include Linda Treadway and Roger Stracner (who for 30 years has been like a brother to John).    He was preceded in death by his parents, Peel Austin Johnston and Rachel Melville Johnston; sister, Sue Ann Smith; and nephews, Joey Smith, David Smith, and Austin Byrd.

            He was born April 12th, 1955 in Newport.  John spent much of his early life in Conway at the Arkansas Children’s Colony (now Conway Human Development Center), before moving back to Newport in May, 1979.  In Newport, he made his home with the Jackson County Learning Center (now Arkansas Center for Independence) where he spent everyday with his close friends and ACI family.

            John was a Christian, and enjoyed going to church whenever he was able.  He loved music and loved to dance.  He always had a song in his heart ready to sing.  He never met a stranger, greeting everyone with a hug and a smile, and leaving them with their day brighter than it was before.

            The family wishes to thank John’s extended ACI family and house mothers at Hooper House for the love and care that they’ve shown him.  He will be deeply missed by all that knew him.

            In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Arkansas Center for Independence, c/o Building Fund, P.O. Box 785, Newport, AR  72112.

            Friends may visit at the funeral home, Monday, November 12, 2018, beginning at 1:00 p.m.  Funeral services will follow at 2:00 p.m. at Jackson’s Newport Funeral Home Chapel, with Mr. Lester G. Mills, Jr., Bro. Chris Anderson, and Mr. Daren Sweat officiating.

            Those honored to serve as pallbearers are Gene Sweat, Daren Sweat, Lester Mills, Jr., Chris Anderson, Marcus Hutto, and Scott Means.  Honorary pallbearers are the Clients and Staff of the Arkansas Center for Independence.

            To light a memorial candle, leave a message of condolence, or sign the guest register, please visit our website at

            Arrangements by Jackson’s Newport Funeral Home.