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LaVerne Louise (Berberich) Johnston

May 24, 1933 ~ May 11, 2017 (age 83)

LaVerne Louise Berberich Johnston, 83, of Byron Center Road, Emlenton, Allegheny Township, a long-time Emlenton area resident and business owner, died on Thursday, May 11, 2017.


Born May 24, 1933, in Pittsburgh, LaVerne was the daughter of Clarence L Berberich and Edna Mae Carothers Berberich. 


LaVerne was an artist, avid gardener, sports enthusiast, and business owner.  LaVerne had a special love for animals, particularly dogs, and especially her own, Teddy.  She was active and busy right until the day of her passing, often interrupting her own work as business owner to provide a listening ear and help others. 


On Sept 17, 1955, LaVerne married her husband - the love of her life - Robert J. “Bob” Johnston in Pittsburgh.  Soon after their marriage, LaVerne was impacted by Multiple Sclerosis, leaving her weak and paralyzed, confined to bed.  She miraculously healed and has always attributed her recovery to the power of God.    


LaVerne became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized by former Pirate’s pitcher Vernon Law.  She and her husband Bob had worked together for many years in church service and had been very involved in missionary work.  She had served as a Relief Society President (for her church’s women’s organization), a District Relief Society President, and most recently as a Visiting Teacher for her congregation in Knox. 


She supported and followed her husband’s dream of building and developing together the lake and cabins of Squaw Valley Woodlands in Allegheny Township.


LaVerne spent decades of her life serving others, including caring for her ailing husband, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law.  She has been a very special “adopted” mother and grandmother to many others who will never forget her.


LaVerne is survived by her niece, Rhonda Berberich of Allison Park and sister-in-law, Marian Berberich of Allison Park, a great-niece and great-nephew.


In addition to her parents, LaVerne was preceded in death by her husband, Robert J. Johnston, and her brother, Ronald E Berberich.


Friends and family will be received at the Hile Funeral Home Inc., 1204 Kerr Ave, Emlenton, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home.  Burial will be at Ridgelawn Cemetery in Mt Troy, North Hills, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County. Memorial contributions can be made in honor of LaVerne to any charity of your choice. Cards and condolences can be sent to Rhonda Berberich, c/o Hile Funeral Home, PO Box 476, Emlenton, PA 16373. For additional information or to send a condolence, please visit

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