James Johnstone

James Johnstone 

Born June 18th, 1945

Passed away peacefully at home on May 18, 2020

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland

Grew up in Hawick, Scotland on the Scottish Borders

Son of James Johnstone, engineer and Martha Scott Johnstone, homemaker, both deceased.

Brian excelled in sports and played rugby, golf and was an Olympic trialist swimming the butterfly stroke.

Graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a Bachelor’s degree in fine art and architectural studies, and came to the United States in the 1970s on a distinguished scholarship to study Pottery and Sculpture.

Brian was in every sense of the word a Renaissance Man. He travelled the world and lived in Spain for awhile where he lived with the Gypsies and mastered the art of the Flamenco Guitar and Spanish cuisine. He also lived in India on a tea plantation owned by a friend of his father’s. There he learned Indian cuisine as well. His Indian food was authentic and delicious. Working for Morrison-Knudsen, he supervised construction of the largest penitentiary in the world in Java, Indonesia.

Brian loved cats and was owned by many cats over his lifetime.

In 1997 Brian met Kate Burnett in Portland, OR. He played Flamenco Guitar at a place called Cafe Sol, a little Spanish-themed tapas bar. They fell in love, and Kate traveled with Brian to Cave Junction, OR, where he was construction manager for a municipal water treatment plant. They bought an RV and lived in it for a year and a half until the project was completed. Brian and Kate loved the Oregon Coast and bought a house in Manzanita, Oregon. They were married in Cannon Beach, Oregon in the garden of the Wavecrest Inn in 1997.

In 2007 a 2.5 acre property in Nehalem, Oregon overlooking the Nehalem River came up for sale which featured a large shop next to the house.They bought the property and It was then that Brian put his ceramic skills to use and created Nehalem Clayworks, a pottery studio. The studio was a great success, until in 2016 Brian fell while closing the heavy sliding doors of the studio, breaking his hip. Following that, it was too painful for Brian to sit at the pottery wheel, so they closed the studio, sold all their equipment and leased the space to a landscaping company. Brian’s health deteriorated during the years after that, which eventually caused his demise.

Brian was was brilliant, had a great sense of humor and he and Kate laughed their way through some rough times. He was opinionated and blunt. He was well known and loved throughout the local community and Scotland. He will be deeply missed.

He is survived by Kate Johnstone, his loving wife of 23 years.

“…Had we never lou'd sae kindly, Had we never lou'd sae blindly, Never met - or never parted - We had ne'er been broken hearted" —Robert Burns

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