Gilbert L. Johnston of Kennett Square

Gilbert L. Johnston, 87, of Kennett Square, died peacefully on Monday, March 7, at Kendal at Longwood.

Gil was born in Harrisburg, the son of the late Mary and Walter Johnston.

He was a graduate of Cornell University, Princeton Theological Seminary and Harvard University. Following a ministry at Loudonville Presbyterian Church in New York, he was a professor of East Asian Religion at Pennsylvania State University and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he retired in 1995. Gil was active in the Quaker faith and was a member of Centre Friends Meeting in Centreville.

His interest and study of Zen Buddhism and Quakerism guided his personal philosophies of peace and social justice.

Gil is survived by his loving wife, Sheila Johnston, his children, Claire Mackin (Scott), Adam Johnston (Cindy), and Ben Johnston (Mary); five grandchildren; a sister, Margaret Thomas; and by a wealth of friends, who were deeply touched by his gentle nature and generosity.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, at Centre Meeting, 311 Center Meeting Road in Centerville.

Gil’s family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Sheila and Gilbert Johnston Scholarship for Study Abroad at Eckerd College, Office of Advancement, Eckerd College, 4200 54th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33711.

Donations may also be made to Centre Friends Monthly Meeting, P.O. Box 154, Rockland, DE 19732

Online condolences may be made by visiting

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