PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The city of Philadelphia is nicknamed the "City of Brotherly Love," because in Greek the word translates to love and friendship. Tom Johnston was someone who extended both of those things to everyone he came across.
It's not easy to move away from a city that you spent your entire life around. When I found out that our newest meteorologist was from the same area, I knew we could click instantly.
We talked Philly sports all the time. They've been pretty bad lately, so most of the time it was just us complaining. We used to work nights together and more often than not, the televisions in our respective offices were tuned into the same channel watching the same game. Complaining in unison, pretty much.
One of my favorite memories was when the Philadelphia Eagles were playing the New York Giants in a Thursday Night Football battle. The game was being shown on NBC, so we knew months in advance we could pretty much watch the entire game and still get all of our work done to go on air right after. There was only one logical dinner choice that night -- Philly Cheesesteaks.
To me, that was such a cool moment and I know TJ would say the same. For someone who still gets a little homesick from time-to-time, that helped.
Infectious is a great word to describe TJ's personality. No matter how your day was going, it was going to get better when you walked into the weather office. TJ on-air was no different than TJ in real life, and that was the best part.
We spent a long time working on some of the same newscasts. With sports coming right after weather, I would head down to the studio and watch the tail end of his weather forecasts before it was my turn to take over the green screen.
"Go get 'em Johnny!" That's what 'Thunder' would say as we traded places. I would jokingly thank him for 'warming up the green screen' for me.
»UPDATE 11:35 p.m.: "Thunder'" will shine in our hearts, family releases Johnston statement
Some of the funniest moments would happen at the end of a long day during the 11 PM newscasts. Our kicker story would always set up time for anchor chat between us all, and you never knew what was going to come out of his mouth.
Watching the way he delivered forecasts was so fun to watch, even if he scared some people by yelling SACO or ELLSWORTH at 5 a.m. or wore a STORM CENTER sweater that resembled Freddy Kreuger.
Tom always seemed to be in the best of spirits a majority of the time I had seen him, which is probably what is making today one of the hardest days I've experienced in a long time.
On behalf of NEWS CENTER and the Mainers who welcomed you into their homes each day, we miss you dearly.
Until we get to share a cheesesteak once again, I hope you that you rest in peace, TJ Thunder.
Thomas Johnston's family visitation will begin at Fortin Group Funeral Home on Wednesday, April 12th, from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. (with words of remembrance at 7 p.m.)
Johnston's funeral will proceed at Smith Funeral Home, at 47 Main St, Mantua, New Jersey, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. (with words of remembrance at 2 p.m.) on Friday, April 14th.
Johnston's burial will commence directly afterward at Ellington Cemetery, at 320 King's Hwy. Clarksburg, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to Tom's family. TD Bank C/O Deneen Morrotta 600 Center St. Auburn, ME.