On Thursday, April 4, 2019, Ramona Ann Johnston passed away peacefully following a long and courageous battle with Huntington’s disease.
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Ramona was born on March 9, 1959 in San Diego; the eldest daughter of Ray and Armelda Mendoza. She grew up in the Oak Park area before moving to the Rolando suburb of East San Diego and attending Rolando Elementary. She attended La Mesa Junior High and Helix High. At Helix she swam and cheered early in high school and enjoyed being part of the school’s yearbook staff, but her grades were always most important to her. She graduated in 1977 and headed to San Diego State where she majored in elementary education, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1982. She immediately went to work as an elementary school teacher at Murdock Elementary and later at Northmont Elementary, both in La Mesa.
Ramona met her future husband Bill Johnston when she was a sophomore and Bill was a junior at Helix High School. However their relationship didn’t blossom until they connected in 1981 at San Diego State. They were married on June 18, 1983 in the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in San Diego. Ramona’s love of family created a desire for a family of her own. So on May 22, 1985, Jared William Johnston came along and on July 15, 1988, their family was complete when Hayley Christine Johnston was born. Following Hayley’s birth, Ramona worked as a full-time mother and homemaker.
In 1999, Ramona was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a fatal genetic neurological disorder. The diagnoses came as a shock to the family since the genetic disease is not in her family. Following the diagnosis, Ramona dedicated her life to raising awareness and funds to find a cure and end the threat against her young family. Her decision to go public and do “whatever it takes” inspired others and helped raise million of dollars.
Ramona leaves behind her husband Bill Johnston, son Jared, daughter Hayley, father Ray Mendoza and wife Teresa; brother Mark Mendoza and wife Debbie; sister Mary Still and husband John, and brother Tony Mendoza and wife Niki.
A Celebration of Life is planned for Wednesday, April 17 at Skyline Church, 11330 Campo Road, La Mesa, 91941.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the following organizations:
Huntington’s Disease Society of America, San Diego Chapter
Tax ID 13-3349872
Tax ID 47-2377003