Nora Jo Tussy Johnston of Raleigh passed away Saturday, June 13, 2015. Nora was born April 30, 1923 in Duval, Oklahoma. She was the daughter of James D. and Flossie Tussy, pioneers of Oklahoma. Her father drove a wagon in the Oklahoma Land Rush, at the age of 9.
Nora graduated high school in Crosbyton, Texas in 1940. She attended Texas State College for Women in Denton. During World War II she worked for the War Labor Board as a secretary, and played the piano for the USO in Dallas.
Nora married Dan Johnston of Dallas in 1946. They started a family and moved to Raleigh in 1961. Nora played the piano at Cafe Deja Vu. She wrote a charming vaudeville musical, “Tonight with Weber Fields", based on the life of Lilian Russell, which was produced at St. Mary's College Theater. She also wrote and performed nursery songs, which sold many copies through women's magazines on 45 records.
Nora Jo was a beautiful, talented and feisty lady. She played piano by ear with an uncanny gift, specializing in honkytonk and pop classics, and had a warm expressive voice. Even in the nursing home, suffering with Alzheimer’s, she continued to play well. She loved card games and could shuffle a deck like a Las Vegas pro. In her later years she loved watching her Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren grow and was an avid Atlanta Braves fan. Like her sister, Souvie, she had a hilarious sense of humor and the ridiculous...true children of the depression and Southern Plains. They were never, ever dull. Heaven is a much livelier place with Nora Jo.
Nora Jo was predeceased by her husband of 62 years, Dan Johnston, Sr. Also welcoming her are her parents, and brothers Elmo and Stanley, and sisters Souvie, Elsie and Peggy, and one granddaughter, Theresa Clark. She leaves behind her two children, Dan Jr. of Raleigh and Deanna Clark of Savannah, GA, daughter-in-law Susan Johnston and son-in-law Clifford Clark. Also surviving are grandchildren Morgan Lee Johnston, Frances Clark Krieg, Matthew and Kenneth Clark. Her great-grandchildren are Gail and Spencer Krieg and Dmitri Morgan Papastratas.
In lieu of flowers, the Family request and memorials to be made to Hospice of NC or Alzheimer’s effort of your choice.