cleo johnston

It is with sadness but faith in the Resurrection that the family of Cleo Johnston announces that she passed on after a lengthy illness, at the Weirton Geriatric Center Wednesday, April 12, 2023. She was 94 years old.

She was born on October 1, 1928, in Weirton. She was one of four children to Alexander and Irene (Halakas) Kontis. In addition to her parents, Cleo was preceded in death by her brother Angelo Kontis, nephew Joseph Wemple, and brother-in-law, Richard Wemple.

Cleo graduated from Weir High School in 1948. From then she blazed her own career path that was unusual for a woman at that time. She utilized her writing skills working at the Weirton Daily Times reporting the societal news. She then joined WEIR Radio gathering and reporting the local news. Within WEIR she went on to become part of the sales team, there she found her niche, advancing to sales manager and upward to station manager, while still selling advertising. Along the way, she became the owner of the Weirton Motel on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Cleo was a vivacious, beautiful, loving person. She was intelligent, accepting of people and had a great sense of humor. She enjoyed traveling and the “Arts”; symphonic concerts, the opera, and theatrical performances at Heinz Hall, the Benedum, etc. Her hospitality would be on full display as she wowed her family and friends with her culinary and baking skills.

Surviving Cleo to cherish her memory with much love and admiration are her daughter Nikki Ann Johnston, and son Peter Johnston both of Weirton; sisters Lillian Wemple of Orlando, Florida; Helen (Roy) Fouty of Weirton; niece Alyson (Gordon) Degenhardt;
Goddaughter and niece Stacie (Curt) Upright all of Weirton; great-nieces Alayna Degenhardt and Melina Upright and great-nephew Grant Upright all of Weirton. Nieces, Cyndi McCambridge, Tiffani (Emmanuel) Mavrakis, and nephew Bruce (Dena) Wemple all of Orlando, Florida. Last but never least, Cleo’s beloved kitty “Pretty Boy”.

Cleo’s family expresses deep appreciation and gratitude to all her home caregivers, especially Trina and Diana; Weirton Medical’s Home Health providers; Weirton Geriatric Center’s Rhonda, Nurse Manager of Sunny Brook, all of her nurses and staff who administered care, comfort and kindness. Also, Valley Hospice Nurses, Scott and Crystal and Chaplain George.

Cleo was a lifelong member of All Saints Greek Orthodox Church and a former member of their church choir. Her beautiful singing voice and love of singing stayed with her throughout her life.

Visitation will be 10 AM until the time of services at 11 AM Monday, April 17, at the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, Weirton.
Fr. Matthew Moore will preside. Entombment will follow at Union Cemetery in Steubenville, Ohio.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Cleo’s memory to the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church’s Benevolent Fund, or you may donate to any (non-kill) animal shelter.


The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in Cleo Johnston 's name.

All Saints Benevolent Fund

3528 West Street
Weirton, WV

Memories Timeline


  1. Candle Selection 8Dear Nikki,

    My heartfelt prayers and love are with you and Pete. Your mother was quite an amazing woman. She was a gifted writer, an incredible editor, devoted and loving mother, and not only brilliant, she was a hoot to be with. Always engaging and so much fun. I’ll never forget the dinner she had for my mother, my younger sister and brother and myself when we visited her in Ft. Lauderdale! My mother always said she knew how to host a fabulous party! Such wonderful memories of Cleo! God bless you and Pete. Call me when you have a little bit of time to ‘just talk’ and catch up. Blessings and Love, Jodi

  2. Candle Selection 2Nikki, our deepest sympathies in the passing of your beloved Mother. May God grant you peace at this very difficult time & may her memory be eternal.
    Michelle Tedreau & Dave Zatta
    Albert F. Macre & Co

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