Carole's Story

PITTSTON - Carole Elizabeth Johnston Marson, age 53, of Pittston, ME, passed away peacefully at home with family and friends on Friday, March 4, 2016 after battling ALS.

Carole was born February 24, 1963, in Norristown, PA, the youngest child of Gilbert and Jane Johnston.

She graduated from Norristown High School in 1981, and relocated to Virginia in 1989, where she attended Old Dominion University and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1993 with a BS in Human Services Counseling. As one who was always helping others, Carole went to work for the Serenity Lodge to assist addicts in recovery and transition. Eventually, she changed careers to work at Goodwill Industries where she helped disabled individuals with job training and employment. Later she would move on to become a Career Event Coordinator for the Lendman Group/Brassring where she traveled the country, and helped to match eager employees with their dream jobs. Before moving to Maine, Carole worked 6 years at Xpedx in industrial sales.

In 2005, Carole met the love of her life, Steve Marson. It wasn't long before Carole and Steve married. Following a short honeymoon trip to Talladega Raceway for a NASCAR race, they returned to Maine to begin their lives together. For 10 years, they worked side-by-side to manage and grow their businesses, Central Maine Pyrotechnics, Pyro City Maine Fireworks, and the River Road Variety Store. Along the way, their work took them to places like Branson, MO, Las Vegas, NV, and Liuyang, China. In their spare time, they enjoyed boating on the Kennebec River, and gathering with friends and family at Westerlund's Landing in South Gardiner, and trips to Boothbay Harbor. One of Carole's favorite things was to plan annual baseball trips for Steve's birthday. They traveled to Boston, Toronto, Tampa, and Baltimore to see his beloved Red Sox play. They were the best of friends and partners in life, and Steve's love and devotion to Carole was unconditional.

In keeping with her service of others, Carole enjoyed volunteering. Over the years, she offered her time to support various causes including answering phones for a Crisis and Sexual Assault hotline, feeding needy children in Norfolk, performing community service for the Virginia Beach Jaycees, building roads on a mission with her church in Nicaragua, and delivering food for Meals on Wheels for the Cohen Center in Hallowell. She was also an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk, as well as the East Pittston United Methodist Church.

When not working or helping others, Carole enjoyed a wide range of activities including camping, hiking, canoeing, boating, white-water rafting, snow skiing, cross-stitch, and playing in beach volleyball tournaments and leagues. She also loved to watch her Philadelphia Eagles.

She was predeceased by her father, Gilbert Johnston; brother, John R. Johnston; and her precious dog, Tasha (a.k.a Punky Doodle.)

She will be deeply missed by her husband, Steve, of Pittston; her mother, Jane Johnston of Norristown, PA; her sister, Patricia Hartline, and husband ,Greg, of Portsmouth, VA; stepsons, Brian Marson of Richmond, and Anthony Marson of Hallowell, along with his wife, Olivia, and their beautiful children, Roland and Chance; brothers-in-law, Bruce Densmore, Earl Hay, Don Marson, Philip Marson, Robin Marson and sister-in-law, Roberta Whitney, and their families; and countless friends.

Carole would like to thank her hospice nurse, Kerry Wilkins, and her caregiver, Julie Cloutier, for their knowledge, dedication, patience, compassion, and humor. A heartfelt thank you goes to Grace Palmer who was Carole's constant daytime companion, caregiver, humorist, right hand, and dear friend. Carole called Grace her "MacGyver" because she always stayed calm and found a solution. Special appreciation goes to Dr. James Russell and his team at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, MA for their support.

Visiting hours are scheduled from 4:00 pm-7:00 pm on Monday, March 7, at Knowlton & Hewins Funeral Home, One Church St, Augusta, ME 04330.

Carole lived her life with great joy and determination, and inspired all those who met her. From the time Carole was diagnosed with ALS, she chose to focus on the present and what she was able to do, rather than dwelling on the past and the things she would no longer be able to do. She continued to travel, and invited friends and family to visit often. She and Steve hosted Friday night happy hours, and her friends started the Tuesday girl's night dinners. Carole saw these times spent with loved ones blessings that may not have happened had she not suffered from ALS. She encouraged everyone to remember the laughter and great memories shared, rather than to mourn her loss. In honor of her wishes, a celebration of Carole's life will be held at the Gardiner American Legion Hall at 46 Griffin Street, on Tuesday, March 8th immediately following a funeral service at Knowlton & Hewins Funeral Home in Augusta at 2:00 p.m.

For those wishing to send flowers, Carole requested that donations be made to one of the following organizations instead:

ALS Association Northern New England Chapter, The Concord Center-Suite 309, Concord, NH 03301

Meals on Wheels, Attn: Debra Silva, Spectrum Generations, P O Box 2589, Augusta, ME 04338

Goodwill of Coastal Virginia, 1911 Saville Row, Hampton, VA 23666

Memories, condolences, photos, and videos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of our website at
Published in Bangor Daily News
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Knowlton & Hewins

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