Nicholas Daniel Johnston, age 21, tragically passed away in his college dorm room on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Nicholas was born in Covington, Louisiana on August 16, 2000, to his loving parents, Peter and Ann Johnston. He was the youngest of four brothers and one sister.
After moving to Daphne, Alabama with his family in the wake of Hurricane Katrina from Mandeville, LA, Nicholas attended Christ the King Catholic School where he discovered a love for chess and mathematics. Regarded as a quiet and kind soul, Nicholas touched the lives of students and teachers alike. He joined the chess team in 2nd grade and became the team’s top player, as well as junior chess champion of Mobile and Baldwin Counties. He was so beloved by his classmates that they voted him Student of the Year for his 8th grade graduation.
Nicholas spent his high school years at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, where his passion for mathematics kindled a new interest in physics. He was a member of the chess and physics teams and helped the teams win state and local titles. Not content to excel in just one field, Nicholas was also part of a handful of students who took four years of Spanish. He was the only student in the entire school to take the AP Spanish exam, and his essay was so noteworthy that it was featured on the AP College Board website as an example of a perfect Spanish essay.
Nicholas received a scholarship to attend the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he majored in Chemical Engineering and minored in Computer Science, was the vice president of the UAH Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and secretary of the Chemical Engineering Jeopardy Team. Always a lover of music, his appreciation deepened with his regular attendance of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra as a season ticket holder.
Nicholas is survived by his parents, Peter and Ann Johnston of Daphne, AL; his brothers, Cory, Alex, and Adam, and his sister, Cassie; paternal grandmother, Rita Johnston of Sea Cliff, NY, best friend, Fabian LaPalme; as well as his aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephew spread throughout the country.
Nicholas’ family wishes to extend their sincere thanks to the teachers who had a profound impact on his life; Mr. Rutkowski, Mrs. Bartz, Dr. Burgess, Dr. Cordero, Mrs. Hodges, Mr. Tenhundfeld, and Mr. O’Keefe, to name just a few.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Hughes Funeral Home, 26209 Pollard Road in Daphne, AL. There will be a visitation there from 5-8 P.M. on Saturday, March 26, 2022. The funeral will be held on Sunday, March 27 at 11:00 A.M. at the Gazebo at the Daphne Central Park Disc Golf Course. The family has requested a private burial following the service.
Expressions of condolence for the family may be made at www.hughesfh.com. Hughes Funeral Home, 26209 Pollard Road, Daphne, AL, is assisting the family.
I remember Nicholas fondly. He was kind, soft spoken, always gracious. Nicholas was a fabulous person who got along wonderfully with his peers. Nicholas would come to the Physics Team after school to help students who were struggling. He had a gifted intellect and his high school and college accolades merely verified that trait as well. I am praying for him, his family and everyone around him.
Words cannot express the sorrow I feel about the death of Nicholas. He was such an amazing young man, smart, kind, quiet, with so much to give. I remember him so well and loved having him as a student. He was so humble and never wanted recognition for his gifts, which were many. Such a huge loss for the world and especially his family. Prayers for healing, comfort and strength for the Johnstons. He will be missed forever. Rest In Peace, Nicholas
My son, Fabian, was Nicolas’s best friend. Nicholas was the kind of young man a parent would want to be best friends with their son: kind, smart, driven, and quiet. I remember sitting next to another mother at a parents’ conference during Fabian and Nicholas’s freshman orientation. She was worried about her son flunking out freshman year because he didn’t take his studies seriously; I offered to give her Fabian’s phone number to pass along to her son. I told her that it makes a difference who your son is friends with, and I gave, as my example, Nicholas. Nicholas made my son a better person. Thank you, Nicholas for being Fabian’s best friend and companion. You will truly be missed.
Nicholas was one of those students who made me hopeful that the next generation would be in good hands. I am so sorry to hear of his death. The world was made a better place by his presence. My deepest sympathy goes out to the Nicholas family.
Nicholas was intelligent, hard-working, funny, and a wonderful friend to my brother. He will be deeply missed.
My heart truly aches over the loss of Nicholas.
He was one of the kindest, most gentle souls I have ever had the honor to teach.
Dios te bendiga, Nicolás.
Our sincerest condolences for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
George & Ginger Nahas
In my memories of High School, Nicholas stands out to me because he seemed to have a vision that none of our peers had. Nicholas knew what he wanted to give the world, and was driven in his pursuits. I remember sitting with him at lunch our senior year and asking him what he wanted to do with his life. He responded with conviction and excitement that he wanted to get a man to mars. And the rest of lunch, I get to listen to him explain his dream to be a part of that larger aim. It left such an impression on me!
Nicholas was one of the brightest and most dedicated people I knew in High School. He was so passionate even if he wasn’t always vocal about his goals. He had so much life to give the world, and I cannot express my regret at his passing.
Dear Peter and Ann,
Agnes and I and all our adult children grieve with you on Nick’s passing. I had heard of Nick’s accomplishments and his desire to pursue Chemical Engineering and had thought that with an MBA after Engineering, Nick would go places. Its hard to believe that God called Nick this early and as a Dad and Grand-dad, its very hard for us to comprehend. This could not have happened to a nicest parents as you.
We have offered Masses for Nick every month until December as their calendar, did not pass beyond that. We will continue to pray for Nick’s soul at every Mass to the end of our lives. We also pray for you both, to be strong for Cory and Alex.
Nicholas is one of my most memorable students for all times. He was kind and intelligent and thoughtful. He was a dedicated and life-long learner. My condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed!
Praying for Nicholas’ family and friends for peace and strength today and always. My heart aches for your loss, but I know he is with the Lord. I also pray for all the college students during these troubling times. May peace and God’s love embrace all.
Peter and Ann. I just found out about Nicholas passing. I can’t even imagine what you are going through. Our condolences for your loss. Your family is in our prayers.
I didn’t know Nikki past 8th grade really, but we had an interesting friendship. In 2nd grade we were a couple of the only new kids, and so we shared in that experience. We remained in an interesting relationship which had its charm in passing conversations and references to the past.
Then, in 8th grade we reunited, so to speak. Still only “school friends” we shared many a laugh and encounters with humor nobody else seemed to enjoy outside of a few of us. Together with Fabian and Graham, we would point out those things in life we found especially amusing or intriguing.
Nikki was a sort of icon for our class, and even today Graham and I will reference our time in 8th grade as being a golden age of tomfoolery and friendship. I am still great friends with Graham, and we recall Nikki’s friendship in middle school all the time. Nikki was something of an enigma, and great young man to be around. I will be praying for him for the rest of my life. Christ be with his family and friends.
Nicholas was always a joy to be around in school. I remember exchanging Christmas ornaments with him in fifth grade and being so excited to put it on the tree. It’s still one of my favorites to this day. Even in his quiet nature, he knew just when to pop in a joke that would make our friend group burst into laughter. I always looked up to his humor and passion for learning and I certainly always will.
Nicholas was such a curious, hard working, and responsible student. He made teaching a breeze because he was always up for learning anything new, and he especially loved an intellectual challenge. I’ll always remember him for his quiet independence and love of learning. I’m heartbroken for his family and friends, and uplifted by the beautiful tribute to him. My prayers are with you. – Adrian O’Keefe