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Richland Stabbing Victim Remembered as 'Guiding Hand' to Husband's Congregation

Constance Johnston was stabbed to death Tuesday morning and her grandson is charged with criminal homicide.

As funeral arrangements are made for Constance Johnston, a picture emerges of a woman who was always there for others and served as "a guiding hand" to Lifeline Community Church where her husband was the pastor.

The 76-year-old Gibsonia woman died Tuesday after being stabbed in the back while eating breakfast with her husband, the Rev. David Johnston, at their home in the 3900 block of Gibsonia Road (Route 910), according to Northern Regional Police Chief T. Robert Amann.

The couple's grandson, Levi Daniel Staver, 26, is charged with criminal homicide. Staver and his mother lived with the Johnstons.

Funeral arrangements at Sperling Funeral Home in McCandless are not complete.

Funeral director Jarett D. Sperling said in an email that he has known Mrs. Johnston for seven years and he describes her as a great person.

"Like so many pastor's wives she was the solid foundation in her family's life and the church," he said. "When she had something to say you listened and when someone needed help or an ear she was there." 

Lifeline Community Church holds its Sunday services in the chapel at Sperling Funeral Home on Blazier Drive. The church is affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

The Elders of Lifeline Community Church released the following statement:

It is with great sadness that we learned of the tragic death of Constance Johnston, our Pastor David Johnston’s wife. Connie was not only a member of our church family, but a guiding hand to our congregation.

She inspired so many people with her kind demeanor, ability to listen and helped those she met. She was more than the pastor’s wife; she was a close and admired friend to all of us. During this time of sadness we respectfully ask for privacy and prayers as we grieve, cope and ask for God’s peace and mercy in the midst of this tragedy.

An acquaintance of the Johnstons, who asked not to be named, painted a similar picture of Mrs. Johnston as a "super lady".

She said the Johnstons hosted families who were down on their luck, helping them find the Lord and get back on their feet.

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