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Kristina L. Johnston

June 30, 1982 ~ September 4, 2018 (age 36)

Kristina Lynn Johnston

Age 36 of Denver, passed away on September 4, 2018. She was born on June 30, 1982, in Southfield, MI to Charles and Maria Johnston of Livonia, MI. Kristina graduated from Ladywood High School in 2000, then went on to receive a Bachelor’s in Art from Eastern Michigan University in 2004 and a Master’s in Arts for Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences from the Colorado University in 2007. She married Johnathan Nicolosi on September 10, 2010 and they lived together in Aurora, Colorado.

Kristina Johnston was an invaluable member of the Speech Department at National Jewish Health for nearly 9 years. She joined the team in October 2009 as a temporary employee and was quickly hired into a permanent full-time role where she helped to grow the department. Kristina worked with pediatric and adult populations with a variety of speech, language and swallowing needs and brought a much-needed expertise in the cognitive and sub-acute areas of the field to the outpatient department. Throughout her years with NJH she was integral in the development of current diagnostic and treatment practices for the treatment of Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion/Inducible Laryngeal Obstruction.

Her passion was clear as she published several papers and presented on these topics to local and national audiences including the annual ASHA convention. Other career highlights included working closely on intradisciplinary teams including the Adult Day Unit team and collaborating with physicians on research and patient care. Kristina also created community within the greater-Denver speech pathology community working as a home healthcare provider to homebound patients with cognitive and swallowing disorders and by participating in the Denver Dysphagia Rounds.

She annually joined in the Flight for Life stair climb in honor of her patients with upper airway and pulmonary diseases. What’s even more than her professional listing of accomplishments is how Kristina affected her colleagues by simply being who she was, unwaveringly. She was passionate and committed. She would work late on a Friday to take a triage call after her shift ended to ensure patients received the best care during their stay at NJH. She was meticulous as she analyzed therapeutic laryngoscopies or modified barium swallow studies to add to the collective understanding and best practices for the field. Kristina was committed to helping her patients and her coworkers.

She loved to travel the world; visiting new and exotic locations and exploring local customs and markets. When she wasn’t hiking or skiing, she could be found participating in one of many 5K’s and stair climb races across the Denver metro area. Kristina was an avid reader, consumer of fine wines and collector of cat-themed paraphernalia. She encouraged others in self-care by sharing delicious healthy recipes, helping coworkers kickstart exercise routines by taking them out walking or stair climbing at lunch, encouraging us all to take our birthdays off to celebrate ourselves, advocating for her team and coworkers, and forever inspiring us to travel and to DO in this life. She was not idle or complacent in anything she had a hand in. She made those around her better, and she will be missed as a person, a colleague, an advocate, a friend, and an inspiration. Even in illness and death her courage, grace, steadfastness, and beauty will continue to inspire us all and she will be deeply missed.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 20, 2018, 12:30pm, visiting 11:30am at

Fred Wood Funeral Home-Rice Chapel 36100 Five Mile Rd., (E. of Levan) Livonia.

In lieu of flowers please make a donation to National Jewish Health, Memorial Dept., 1400 Jackson St. Denver, CO 80206. Please designate your gift to the Speech Pathology Department.

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