A focal point in J.R. and Teresa Johnston’s Houston, Texas, home is a photograph of the steps leading into Mississippi College’s Lowrey Hall. It was on those very steps that J.R. and Teresa met as MC students more than six decades ago.
“Those are the steps where we met,” J.R. says, pointing to the photograph. “And met, and met, and met.”
J.R. was attending college on the G.I. Bill, back home in Mississippi after taking shrapnel in his leg during the Nor- mandy invasion. Teresa, a former Miss Hospitality, caught his eye as she made her way up the steps to the library.
Married for 65 years, the Johnstons’ fondest memory is of their wedding ceremony, held on a Sunday after church and performed by J.R.’s father, a Baptist minister.
(“It was the cheapest wedding you ever saw,” J.R. says.
“No, dear, it was inexpensive,” Teresa chides gently, patting his hand. “Our wedding was not cheap, it was inexpensive.”)
Over the next six decades, J.R. and Teresa built a happy life together, with J.R. eventually retiring as CFO of Houston Light & Power and Teresa enjoying her own career as a bookkeeper at a Houston gas company (“The rival to his electric company,” Teresa points out.)
As a result of frugal living and careful planning, the Johnstons have been able to give generously to Mississippi College. The couple purchased an annuity that provides them with an income for their lifetimes and will benefit their alma mater upon their passing.
“God has been so good to us, why not give back this way?” Teresa says. “MC means everything to us. It was a wonderful place to be and it’s a great feeling to be able to do something like this for the university.”
“We were both fortunate to get to go to college, and we thought about the fact that MC gives a lot of schol- arships to students that otherwise wouldn’t be there,” J.R. says. “As Christians, we have a certain obligation to God’s work and this is one way we can figure we’ve helped God out – by giving back.”