Kevin W. Johnston, of Amherst, had been enamored of the great outdoors since he was a teenager who hiked regularly with friends to an area of Olean commonly referred to as "The Rocks," which overlooked the village.
It was his dream to have a house surrounded by the forest. So after years of dreaming about it, Mr. Johnston recently finished construction on a three-story chalet in Ellicottville. He designed the A-frame log cabin himself.
Mr. Johnston was among the 49 people who died Thursday aboard Continental Flight 3407, which crashed in Clarence. He was 52.
The director of safety, health and environment at Henkel Corp. - North America, he was returning home to Amherst after traveling on business.
Mr. Johnston was born in Olean and was a 1974 graduate of Olean High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from Buffalo State College in 1978 and later earned his master's degree from Buffalo State.
In 1980, he began working in the environmental department of Carborundum Co. in Niagara Falls. He left in 1985 to join Pratt and Lambert and later Pierce Stevens and Sovereign Chemical, which is now Henkel Corp., where he has been employed for the past 14 years as a certified safety professional and industrial hygienist.
Mr. Johnston enjoyed both hiking and skiing. His brother-in-law, Marty Agius, recalled him not only as a devoted husband and family man, but as one who was an unusually patient teacher.
"He spent nights tutoring his daughter and a nephew in preparation for the SATs, as much as 60, 70, 80 hours. His patience was unbelievable," said Agius.
Mr. Johnston also spent nearly 20 years coaching Amherst Youth Soccer, in which his three daughters also took part.
He is survived by his wife, Kathleen; his daughters, Melissa, Amanda and Kelsey; his parents, William and Frances; and a sister, Kimberly.
A memorial service will be at 6 p.m. today in St. John Lutheran Church of Amherst, 6540 Main St.