Cover photo for Audrie Jean Johnston's Obituary
Audrie Jean Johnston Profile Photo
1928 Audrie 2021

Audrie Jean Johnston

August 25, 1928 — January 5, 2021

A Memorial Mass will be held for Cortez resident Audrie Jean Malchert Johnston at noon on Saturday, January 23, 2021 at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Cortez, CO. A celebration of Audrie’s life will be held later this summer.

Audrie passed away January 5, 2021 at Vista Mesa in Cortez, Colorado at the age of 92. Born August 25, 1928 to Norval Emery Malchert and Alice Emeline (Zufelt) in Northfield, Minnesota. She attended Coe College in Iowa (’46-’47) as a freshman, working on the “Acorn” editorial staff and Carleton College in Minnesota (’47-’48) as a sophomore. Working that summer at Mesa Verde National Park, she met her first husband Robert Wolfner Eppstein whom she married December 28, 1948 for 31 years in Tucson, Arizona. Together they raised five children, three surviving. The love of hiking introduced her to her second husband Donald L. Johnston whom she married on August 12, 1982 until his passing October 22, 2007 in Prescott, Arizona.

Audrie lived a full and long life. Hiking continually and well into her eighties, she stood atop mountains in Europe, New Zealand and her beloved southwest. An avid reader, she loved going to the library where she was well known. Her knowledge of current events, flowers, plants, and literature was astonishing. Her management of a large family and busy household was impressive. But she also found time to serve at a wide variety of organizations including infant crisis care-centers, Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Girl Scouts, Alzheimer facilities and neighborhood clubs. She also enjoyed a lifetime of faith, attending churches wherever she called home. She loved music and sang in choirs in Tucson and Prescott. She lived her life frugally so that she could be generous to others, and expected everyone to do the same. Audrie quietly used her Norwegian, Lutheran strength throughout her life and showed those who knew her and loved her how to live.

Audrie was preceded in death by her sister Patricia Youngs b January 29, 1930 d October 14, 2015; and by sons, Steven Wolfner Eppstein b October 31, 1950 d July 15, 1999, and Christopher John Eppstein b August 11, 1962 d August 21, 1990.

She is survived by her three children, Robert Eugene Eppstein and wife Olga, Laurel Ann and husband Peter Montano, and Richard Ira Eppstein and wife Pamela. In addition to her three surviving children, she enjoyed her ten grandchildren, Matthew, Meghann, Jessica, Garrett, Nick, Aaron, Theresa, Kharis, Chelsey and Shayna, as well as her fourteen great grandchildren.

Audrie loved the outdoors and any act or contribution towards preserving and enhancing it in her name would make her smile.

Arrangements are being made through Ertel Funeral Home. To send condolences or to view the full obituary, log on to and click on the obituary section.

To order memorial trees in memory of Audrie Jean Johnston, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Mass

Saturday, January 23, 2021

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Mountain time)

St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church

Cortez, CO 00000

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