William (Bill) C. Johnston
Family and friends are celebrating the life of William (Bill) C. Johnston, who passed away on April 23, 2021. He was a beloved husband, father, brother, grandpa, great-grandpa, uncle, friend and is already greatly missed.
Bill was born January 2, 1925 in Donora, Pennsylvania, the eldest of eight children born to Oleta Jamison Johnston and Clarence A. Johnston. When he was 3 years old, his parents moved to Ogden, Utah where he attended Madison Grade School, Lorin Farr Middle School and Ogden High School.
During World War II, Bill served in the Navy on the submarines Seafox and Baya (June 1943-May 1946). Following the war, Bill received an honorable discharge and returned home to his family in Utah. His love for and sense of duty towards his country remained constant throughout his life, blessing the younger generations that he influenced.
On September 3, 1953, Bill married his sweetheart, JoAnne Whitehead. They had four sons—Brad, Blake, Brice and Burke—and shared nearly 64 years together.
A defining feature of Bill's life was his love of golf. That love began early, at age 10, when he began to caddy at the El Monte Golf Course. Following his service in the Navy, Bill attended the University of Utah where he was a star collegian and captain of the golf team for three years while receiving his Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Management. During these years he won the Salt Lake City Amateur in 1949 and 1950 also leading his team to win the conference in 1950. That same year, he became a member of the PGA. Counting all events, Bill won 45 tournaments with his most notable wins being the Texas Open in 1958 and the Utah Open in 1960. Later, he played on the Senior PGA tour from 1980 to 1990. Bill was also a club pro at courses in Vernal, Utah; Provo, Utah; Phoenix, Arizona; and Evergreen, Colorado. In addition to playing competitively, Bill designed eight golf courses: The Hideout Golf Club (Lake Brownwood, Texas); The Dominion Country Club (San Antonio, Texas); The Links at Arizona Biltmore Country Club (Phoenix, Arizona); Rancho Manana Golf Club (Cave Creek, Arizona); Tapatio Springs Resort (Boerne, Texas); and Legacy Ridge Country Club (Bonham, Texas). He was inducted into the University of Utah Sports Hall of Fame, the Utah Golf Hall of Fame, and the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame. At the age of 95, Bill was still playing golf several times a week and often said, "Golf has been very good to me."
When he was 81 years old, he took up painting and became a prolific amateur painter. Many homes and offices have pictures painted by Bill hanging on their walls.
Bill was known for his constant activity, kindness, honor, and generosity. He had a special love for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and they have wonderful memories of hitting balls at the driving range with grandpa and afterwards "getting a bite to eat." He greatly valued his relationships with others and maintained many lifelong friendships while continuing to make new ones throughout his life. He was a gracious gentleman, generous with his time, friendship, experience, and means to all he met.
Bill peacefully passed away in Idaho, at the home of his son Brice with loved ones by his side on April 23rd, 2021. He is survived by his four sons, Brad, Blake, Brice (Shauna), and Burke; his sister Beverly Bailey; his 10 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. More importantly, he joins his dear JoAnne, parents, and the remainder of his siblings who preceded him in death.
Our Dad and Grandpa's life has made our lives more whole, and we will strive to follow his footsteps by being more kind, gracious, and generous to all. We ask that anyone who would like to join us in celebrating Billy's life do the same. We miss you Dad and Grandpa, and we will love you forever. "God be with you till we meet again."
A private family service will be held in Utah at a future date.
Published by The Arizona Republic from Apr. 27 to Apr. 29, 2021.