William ‘Bill’ Johnston
William Michael Johnston, blessed the earth with his bigger than life presence on Friday, January, 19, 1951. He is survived by his wife, Julie “Fluff” Johnston, daughter Amy (Bob) Kavcich, and was a proud grandpa known as Papa J to two cool grandkids, Parker and Gracie. Bill was the second child born to William Gene and Anna Marie Johnston. He was brother, Billy, to Karen (Larry) Lumley, Debbie (Kelly, predeceased) Russ, Greg Johnston, Mark (Diane) Johnston, Tony (Karen) Johnston, and Beverly Armstrong, who is cracking jokes by his side in Heaven. Aside from his immediate family, Billy is survived by a slew of nieces and nephews and a handful of friends near and far.
Bill was born in what was considered the last “civilized” spot during the Lewis and Clark Expedition – St. Charles, Missouri. He was a connoisseur of fried pies, grilled meat, Bloody Mary’s, and an occasional glass of nice Scotch. He was a lover of wild birds and domestic cats, (specifically Fatso, Kiddus, and Gene). Bill was a movie and history buff, enjoyed documentaries, and stand-up comedy. Sometimes thought of as having a tough guy appearance, Billy was a big kid at heart. He spent some of his retirement freedom as a gamer, playing late-night games online with Parker. During the day he tinkered with electronics and gadgets and had a knack for being Julie’s very own modern day MacGyver, working on projects around the house. Even though he was too ‘old’ to trick-or-treat, he enjoyed passing out candy to the neighborhood kids, but with a catch; they had to tell him a joke first. His other favorite time of year was the 4th of July, setting off literally tons of explosives with his son-in-law. Bill and Bob hosted a firework’s spectacular that became the neighborhood’s annual fireworks show.
Bill’s booming voice and contagious laugh was perfect for blanketing the airways as a radio d.j. The original record spinner, “Bill Michaels” played his favorite genre of music – 70’s hits in the 1970’s. One of the first d.j.s to play music at that time on the seemingly futuristic laser-disc (a.k.a. cd), he played rock and country in the 1980’s. During the 1990’s, Bill did a stint as a talk radio host in St. Louis, Missouri.
A 1969 high school graduate of Hazelwood Central High School, Bill entered into St. Louis Community College – Florissant Valley, where his mom, Ann, enjoyed working in her later years and became a college graduate in May of 1990 at the young age of 62. Bill, however, cut his college career short to serve our country.
One of Bill’s most important accomplishments was his time spent in the United States Armed Forces. William Johnston was a brave veteran of the Vietnam War. He continued his full time career with the Air Force employed as a Communication Systems Radio Operations Supervisor and honorably retired after a total of 20 years.
Bill Johnston had a stubborn determination and bold spirit. Although, he put up a good fight against cancer for a year and a half, Bill bravely and peacefully passed with guns-a-blazing on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019. Bill had a long standing joke that one day he would “take a ride on the jet stream”. His spirit can be forever admired in the constellation of Capricornus, officially recorded in the International Star Registry as Billy Space Boy Johnston, star number RA 20h 48m 19s D-20͒ 17’. So, should you ever feel melancholy all you have to do is look to the moondust scattered across the night sky. Bill is among the twinkling stars, shining down with a wink and boisterous laugh.
Fly high Bill Johnston, may the angels forever sing of your spirit and the sun never set on your soul.
Services: Graveside service with Full Military Honors will be held on Friday, October 11th at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, 2900 Sheridan Road, St. Louis, MO 63125 at 1:00 p.m. Please meet at the cemetery administration building. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Stray Rescue www.strayrescue.org appreciated.