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Nicholas C. Johns MD

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Nicholas C. Johns MD Obituary
Johns, Nicholas C., MD
A mighty force departed this life May 13, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. Nicholas C. Johns, born January 22, 1917 in Donora, Pennsylvania, died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia at 98 years of age. Nick's parents, Tony and Warda John, were Syrian immigrants who, for their nine children, set the standard of hard work, excellence and accomplishment to which Nick conformed every day of his life. A self-made man, Nick worked in the West Virginia coal mines to put himself through college. He also made time for fun as a cheerleader and, after a game, met the love of his life, Doris Ann Douglas, whom he married while they were both students. At the time of his death, Nick and Doris had been married over 77 years and were officially recognized as the longest married couple in Arizona. After his college graduation, Nick went to Chicago where he worked his way through Rush Medical School by helping to build the "L" train system. During World War II Nick served in the Army Air Corps as a flight surgeon. While stationed in Fort Worth, Texas, Nick became friends with Ben Hogan, who taught him how to play golf, which became Nick's passion. During his lifetime, Nick made two holes in one and, even in his 80's and 90's, he routinely shot his age. While building a family medical practice in Indiana, Nick and Doris raised five children, all of whom are either physicians or dentists: Judith Ann Edwards (Wendell), Janet Susan Bullard (Harlan), Laurence Douglas Johns (Judy), Michael Reed Johns (Rose Marie), and Merry Elizabeth Johns. As a family physician Nick lived by the tenet that medicine was not only a science, it was also an art. Throughout his life, Nick was devoted to his patients and friends and was a gifted diagnostician and patient advocate even after he retired from practicing medicine. Though he worked long hours in his practice, Nick was an avid golfer and Notre Dame's biggest fan. For many years, Nick was the team doctor for the Fighting Irish, developing deep friendships with the coaches and school leadership. After retiring to Arizona, life was too tame for Nick so he became the physician at Grand Canyon National Park until health issues forced him into permanent retirement. Nick and Doris had eight grandchildren: Dr. Andrew Johns (Kayli), Dr. Sheryl Edwards Sweeney (Patrick), Randall Edwards (Virginia), T. Anthony Johns (Catherine), Dr. George Bullard (Shannon), Dr. Samuel Bullard (Swati), Jennifer Johns and Jillian Johns; and 21 great-grandchildren: Mitchell Johns, Daniel Sweeney, Amanda Johns, Jenna Johns, Matthew Johns, John (Jack) Sweeney, Thomas Sweeney, Emma Johns, Alexander Edwards, Megan Johns, Kyle Edwards, Bridget Bullard, Edward Bullard, Lauren Edwards, Samantha Johns, Nicholas Bullard, Joshua Sweeney, Charlotte Bullard, Neha Bullard, Nolan Bullard and Patrick Bullard. Each time Nick saw one of his progeny the question and the pretend stern voice would be the same: Are you going to be a doctor? To which each of the kids would eventually be forced to say yes! In word and deed, Nick was the patriarch of the Johns family, continuing the legacy of determination he inherited from his parents and passing it on to his descendants. At Nick's direction, no services will be held and his body will be cremated.


Published in The Arizona Republic from May 16 to May 17, 2015
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