Kevin Johnston
Kevin Johnston

“My brother-in-law, Kevin Johnston, was onboard Flight #3407. He was 52 years old. He was married to my sister, Kathy, for 28 years. He is the father of 3 beautiful daughters… Melissa (26), Amanda (23), and Kelsey (18). He also leaves behind his mother and father and one sister, along with many in-laws and nieces and nephews… all who loved Kevin and miss him very much. We are a very close family, so the sudden, tragic death of Kevin has affected all of us deeply.

In the 28 years since Kevin came into our family, we have always known him to be one of the most patient, selfless, caring and hardworking people we have ever known. He was a true family man… a loving husband and father… 100% devoted to Kathy and his 3 girls. In my sister’s own words… “we were blessed to have the relationship and marriage we did”… and the payoff was his daughters and the merited pride he had for them. Kathy and Melissa, Amanda, and Kelsey miss him horribly.

Kevin’s family was the most important thing in his life… and that extended beyond his immediate family. Kathy, my brother and I lost our father to cancer in August… just under 6 months before the crash. Kevin was at Dad’s bedside daily; he was at our side on the morning Dad died… and Kevin continued to be there for our mother (his mother-in-law) in the days and weeks following Dad’s death. He helped our Mom around the house fixing things and he assisted her with all the paperwork in the aftermath. Kevin was a son to her. My Mom misses him.

Just 6 weeks before the crash, in an attempt to alleviate some of the sadness of our father’s death and “escape” from the holidays, we went on a Family Christmas Cruise. THANK GOD we went when we did and did not “put it off”… unknowing that in a few short weeks, Kevin would not be with us. There were 21 of us and we will all cherish those happy memories of that trip forever.

One of the many difficult things my sister and nieces will have to endure is taking the drive to Ellicottville. It is there where Kevin fulfilled a lifetime dream. Very recently he completed the building of a chalet on the hillside near the ski resorts. He designed it, furnished it and spent many weekends up there working hard to complete it… it took a few years, but now he could finally go up there with family and friends to relax and enjoy it. Sadly, he was able to relish in it for only 1 season. Thoughts of their beautiful new home and all the love and hard work he put into it is disheartening for all his family. Since the crash, it sits empty now… knowing what it meant to him makes the thought of returning there anytime too soon both emotional and depressing.

We all miss Kevin immensely. You can’t help but think of all the things that will never be. Kevin supported and saw his 2 oldest daughters through college, but was in the midst of helping his youngest, a high school senior, with her college applications and decisions. Kelsey will graduate from high school in less than 2 months…without her father there. Inevitably, there are 3 weddings in the future…Kevin will not be there to walk his girls down the aisle. My sister is trying so hard not to let her mind wander too far ahead…but it is a daily struggle and difficult not to dwell on his absence in their lives.

There were approximately 1200 people at Kevin’s memorial service…We will never forget it. It was a tribute to Kevin and a testimony of all the family and friends and neighbors and co-workers who loved and respected him. It is an immense pain and heaviness in all our hearts that he is no longer with us. Not a day goes by where I don’t, at some point, speak aloud to myself and up towards him… “Kevin, I cannot believe you are never coming home to us”… The hurt and sadness I see in Kathy and my nieces everyday as they cope with their loss and at the same time, struggle to maintain everyday “normalcy” is heart-wrenching. We can see the road to healing will be a very long and slow one… the circumstances of his death adding to the anguish we feel. Its not just us…

This crash has caused such grief and suffering and torment in the lives of 49 other families. And the most difficult aspect is coming to the realization that this accident did not have to happen. That is what hurts the most…that is what we must cope with in our hearts and minds for the rest of our lives.”

Helen Agius – Sister-in-law of Kevin Johnston