Odell A. D. Johnston, Sr., 76, of Pittsford, passed away unexpectedly on Aug. 11, 2020, at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. He was born September 17, 1943 in Rhinebeck, New York, the son of Odell A. D. and Doris (Risch) Johnston. He spent his childhood in Saratoga Springs, New York., where he graduated from Saratoga Springs High School.
On June 24, 1972, he married Carol Santo in Bennington. They lived in Red Hook, New York, and Grand Junction, Colorado, before returning to Vermont. They made their home in Pittsford where they opened Creative Cookery in 1975. While the bakery’s doors officially closed in 2001, he never stopped baking.
He is survived by his wife, Carol; his son, Odell A. D. Johnston, Jr. both of Pittsford; and his daughter, Catherine (Johnston) Matto and family, of Takoma Park, Maryland; his sister, Mary Lou Roblee of Saratoga,New York and family; his nephew Scott Smith of New York and family; and two loving dogs, Digger and Tizzy.
Odell was fiercely proud of his family, always happy to share the latest news, picture, or accomplishment, however mundane. Ever a convincing storyteller (with a slight flair for the dramatic), he loved to make others smile or laugh (or just wonder). He built boats, relationships, connections, and others’ confidence in themselves. Odell was a champion of his family, friends, employees, and community.
He joined the Pittsford Fire Department in 1975 and
retired after 33 years of service. During (and after) his role as secretary for the Nickwackett Hose Co., he put his imaginative spin on the reading of their quarterly reports. Odell helped create the annual Pittsford Haunted House fundraiser in 1980 and devilishly participated nearly every year. Odell also served on the Lothrop Elementary School Board for 22 years, including as director and chair.
At Grace Congregational United Church of Christ, he served on the music committee, enjoyed singing in the sanctuary choir, and was the famous roll baker for the annual Harvest Dinner for many of his 28 years of membership.
Odell attended the SUNY Maritime College and Hobart College (New York). He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (New York) in 1974 and the College of St. Joseph in 2000.
A celebration of life service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Grace Congregational UCC, 8 Court St., Rutland, VT 05701 (or tithe.ly/give?c=306316, type: Memorial Fund), or to the Pittsford Fire Dept., P.O. Box 10, Pittsford, VT 05763.
Arrangements are by Tossing Funeral Home.