FRED W., JR., 80
Admiral Fred William "Bill" Johnston, Jr. U.S. Navy Retired age 80, died Thursday at Shands @ University of Florida with his wife and son by his side. Bill was born in Chicago, Illinois to Fred W. and Maybelle Shuman Johnston and grew up in Sarasota, FL graduating from Sarasota High School in 1951. After attending Emory University, he enlisted in the naval aviation cadet program in Pensacola and in 1955 was designated a Naval Aviator and commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy.
In the ensuing 30 years, Bill served in a wide variety of assignments both ashore and at sea amassing over 4,000 hours in carrier based aircraft. He received a BA in Political Science/International Relations from the Navy War College and the US Navy Post Graduate School. He was the commanding officer of two helicopter squadrons and the amphibious assault ship USS Saipan. Admiral Johnston served as the Head of Navy Personnel Programs and was appointed to Real Admiral assigned to the Joint Chief of Staff Plans & Policy section. He subsequently served as the Commander of Carrier Based ASW Aircraft in the Atlantic Fleet in Jacksonville, FL. His last assignment was as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Readiness and Resources in for the Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, VA.
Admiral Johnston's many personal decorations included the Legion of Merit with a Gold Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with a Gold Star and various campaign medals.
Following retirement from the Navy in 1985 Bill and his first wife Sally lived in Springfield, MO and he enjoyed working closely with Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops. Subsequent to Sally's passing, Bill spent several pleasant years living in Clewiston and fishing for Black Bass on Lake Okeechobee where he was fortunate enough to reunite with his second wife Betty at a high school reunion.
Bill and Betty married in 1991 and were blessed to spend the following 23 years living in Gainesville, FL and Highlands, North Carolina where they enjoyed spending time playing golf and bridge with their many close friends. They were members of First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Ned L. Johnston and his first wife, Sally. He is survived by his wife Betty Menzies Johnston and his family, daughters Mary J. Banks (Scott), Los Angeles, CA., Beth M. Wigle (David) - Orlando, FL; sons Fred William "Bill" Johnston, III (Gayle) of Winter Haven, Stuart Menzies, Gainesville, James C. Menzies (Katherine) of Charlotte, NC and eleven grandchildren, Billy, Austin, Luke, Brock, Katie, Abbie, Trevor, Stuart, Paige, Madison and J.C.
A Service of Remembrance will held Tuesday at 1:00 PM in the First Presbyterian Church, followed by Full Military Honors conducted by the U.S. Navy Honors Team.
In lieu of flowers donations should be made to the Salvation Army, Wounded Warrior Project or the First Presbyterian Church, in Memory of Adm. Bill Johnston.
Services are under the care of MILAM FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES, 311 South Main Street, Gainesville, Florida. Ph.: 352-376-5361.
Milam Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. of Gainesville
311 South Main Street Gainesville, FL 32601-1803
Published in Gainesville Sun from Feb. 2 to Feb. 3, 2014