Jane Johnston of Detroit Lakes, Minn., the host of KSTP-TV's "Dialing for Dollars" in the 1960s and '70s, died Nov. 26 in Detroit Lakes. She was 86.
Stanley S. Hubbard, CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting, said she was a talented broadcaster.
"It was a good time, and it was a great show," Hubbard said. "She was reliable, honest and hard-working."
After high school, Johnston, an Indiana native, sang with bands in her home state and Kentucky. When she was 21, she married trombonist and band leader Bill Sheryak. He died in 1976.
In 1945, she moved to Fargo, N.D., and got into radio and television with WDAY.
"She sang all the time around the house," said her son, Scott Sheryak of Detroit Lakes. "As a kid, I sang on the radio with her in Fargo. It was a lot of fun."
In 1963, she landed the job at KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities. In addition to "Dialing for Dollars," she had "The Jane Johnston Show," a homemaking program. She was also the author of two cookbooks and hosted a cooking segment. She also was the host of "Dial 5," interviewing celebrities.
Johnston represented KSTP at St. Paul's Winter Carnival and Minneapolis' Aquatennial. She also broadcast on KSTP Radio.
Johnston was an early leader of the nonprofit American Women in Radio and Television, bringing influential women from around the nation to speak in the Twin Cities.
"She was ahead of her time," recalled Bob Ryan, a former KSTP newscaster who recalled that when she joined the staff, there were few, if any, women in on-air roles.
Johnston wasn't part of the news staff, but she did many interviews, helping out the station's journalists, Ryan said.
"She could get more information out of people," he said. "She was the face of the station as far as women were concerned."
Ryan also recalled her popularity with viewers and KSTP staffers.
"When Jane came into the Christmas party, people would actually get up and begin clapping," he said.
In 1976, Johnston moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., where she was host of a daytime interview program on WTOG-TV, then a Hubbard Broadcasting station.
Around 1980, she returned to the Twin Cities, living in Edina and working for a foundation for several years.
Her second husband, Bill Davey, a Twin Cities ad man, cartoonist and promotions director for KSTP, died in 1996. Her daughter, Lynn Anderson, died in 1967.
She moved to Detroit Lakes in 1997.
In addition to her son, she is survived by her brother, George Johnston of Naples, Fla., three granddaughters and three great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Emmanuel Nursing Home, Detroit Lakes. Visitation will be held at 1 p.m. at the nursing home.