Dr. Robert E. Johns, 99, Korean War vet, superintendent of Coatesville Area School District

By on March 25, 2015

Dr. Robert E. Johns, former superintendent of Schools for the Coatesville Area School District, passed away Saturday, March 21, 2015, at Moravian Manor, in Lititz, at the age of 99. He had been a resident there since 2012.

Dr. Johns was born in Lancaster on Jan. 19, 1916, the son of Minnie Landis Johns and Anson Shirk Johns and was preceded in death by his wife: Ellen Allen Johns, who died in 1988; all of his brothers and sisters; and his daughter: Barbara Ann Johns Butcher, wife of Dr. Richard Butcher of Sunbury. He was also preceded in death by Jane Gray Smith, his close friend and traveling companion for more than 23 years.

He graduated from the Lancaster Boys High School, Franklin and Marshall College, as a Phi Beta Kappa and received his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Johns served in the United States Navy from 1944-1946 on the USS Jubilant and then was called back for the Korean War from 1951 to 1953 to serve as an executive officer on the USS Shelter and a training officer at the Fleet Training Center in Charleston, S.C. In 1953, he was promoted to lieutenant with two full stripes.

Upon completion of his military service, he served as a junior high school principal for the West Chester School District, an assistant superintendent for the Public Schools of Chester County and supervising principal of the Brandywine Area Schools. In 1964, Dr. Johns became the first superintendent of the newly formed Coatesville Area School District, a consolidation of the Brandywine Area Schools and the Coatesville City Schools. In 1974, he retired, but still kept his hand in education for a few years, serving as an assistant director of School Study Councils and an associate professor at Ursinus College.

He enjoyed traveling, playing golf and bridge, following the Philadelphia sports teams, but most importantly following the lives of his four grandsons.

He is survived by his son: Robert E. Johns Jr. and his wife, Holly of Lititz. He is also survived by his grandsons: Robert A. Johns, and his wife Claire, who live in Apex, N.C.; James A. Butcher in Boulder, Colo.; and Garth P. and Derek R. Butcher, both of Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2013, Dr. Johns was blessed with a great-granddaughter: Addison Ann Johns, who was a source of great pride to him.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a memorial service in Steinman Hall at Moravian Manor, 300 W. Lemon St., Lititz, on Saturday, March 28, at 1:30 p.m. Friends may greet the family starting at 1 p.m. Interment will be private, prior to the memorial service at the Mellinger Cemetery in Lancaster.

In lieu of flowers and in keeping with Dr. Johns’ passion for students and education, donations can made in his name for the support of scholarships to Lebanon Valley College, 101 N. College Ave., Annville, PA 17003.

To send an online condolence to the family, visit DeBordSnyder.com. Arrangements were entrusted to the DeBord-Snyder Funeral Home, Lancaster.

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