James J. Johnston


Jim Johnston, 78, of Grain Valley, Missouri, passed away on January 8, 2018 in the comfort of his home, while surrounded by family.  A visitation will be held from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at OOIDA, Grain Valley, MO. A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, January 12, 2018 at Berry Acres, Odessa, MO.

Jim was born in Summerfield, Mass., On July 23, 1939, to Richard and Dorthea Johnston.  He was raised in Davenport, Iowa. 

Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1956 where he worked on a ship as a boiler man.  After completing his military service, Jim started his trucking career as a driver and an owner-operator. In 1969 Jim’s trucking career brought him to Grain Valley. In the early 70’s things were hard for truckers. Shutdowns across the country and fuel shortages made small business truckers realize they needed an association that could communicate their concerns to law makers. As a small business trucker himself, in 1973, Jim with the help of others, formed Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, OOIDA. Jim was elected president of OOIDA in 1974. A title he held up until his passing at which time he was serving his ninth term. Anyone that knew Jim knew of his unrelenting commitment to small business truckers. It was his passion.

Although the world knew Jim as the president of OOIDA, we his family knew the other side of Jim. The side that had a need for speed. He liked anything with a motor. From bulldozers, tractors to boats and cars. The faster it was the more he liked it. There are many reasons his boat is named “Speedo”. Jim loved spending time at Pomme De Terre Lake where he had a second home along with two additional businesses.

Anyone that had the opportunity to meet this man would all agree on one thing.  Jim was the most determined man they would ever meet.  They might even say that he was extremely stubborn.  The word “quit” was not in his vocabulary.  With that being said, Jim was the most generous man that anyone could meet.  There are countless lives that he has touched.   Not only was he a very successful business man, he was an amazing family man, and a great friend. Jim will be missed by many but his legacy will continue on. 

Jim is survived by his wife, Karen Johnston of the home; his brother, Chuck Johnston and his wife, Diana of Grain Valley; their children and spouses; nieces; nephews; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren. 

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Dorthea Johnston; brothers, Richard “Dick” Jr. and Sidney “Syd”; and sisters, Claire “Cleo” and Virginia.


Arrangements:  Royer Funeral Home, Grain Valley, MO   816-847-4441


Royer Funeral Home
101 SE 15th St
Oak Grove, MO 64075
Royer Funeral Home
100 Royer Lane
Grain Valley, MO 64029
Phone: 816-847-4441
Royer Funeral Home
205 SW 17th Street
Blue Springs, MO 64015
Phone: 816-229-5551
Royer's New Salem
1823 N Blue Mills Rd
Independence, MO 64058
Phone: 816-796-8600
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