The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas


June 13, 2013

Walter L. Johnston

Memorial services for Walter L. Johnston, 86, of Palestine, will be at 1 p.m. Saturday June 15, 2013 at Bailey & Foster Chapel, with the Rev. Wade Hobbs and Dr. Daniel Gold officiating. Arrangements are under the direction of Bailey & Foster Palestine.

Mr. Johnston passed away Thursday, June 6, 2013 at Cartmell Home for Aged.

He was born Oct. 26, 1926 in Palestine to Walter Edgar and Lottie Mae Griffith Johnston. He was one of the early Eagle Scouts in Anderson County, earning bronze, gold and silver palms. He graduated from Palestine High School in 1944 and served in U.S. Naval Reserve in World War II and Korea. He was in the Medical Service Corps in WWII and retired as LT in Naval Intelligence in 1966. His education included a Bachelor's degree in Organic chemistry, a Master's degree in Industrial Engineering and a Doctorate in Geriatric Nutrition. He was a Registered Professional Safety engineer in the State of California and a Registered Professional Refining Engineer in Venezuela. He was awarded two honorary Doctorates of Humanities, both for services to denominational church schools; one in Las Piedras, Falcon in Venezuela (Evangelical Free Church) and the other in Balang, Bataan in the Philippines (Methodist Church).  He married his Baylor University sweetheart, Mary Helen Roberts, on Nov. 24, 1949.

Mr. Johnston was preceded in death by his parents.  

He is survived by his wife, Mary Helen Johnston; only son, Dr. Walter L. Johnston, Jr. and wife Elise of Dallas, Texas; only daughter, Mary Joanna Atkins and husband Donald R. Atkins, Jr. of Porter, Texas; grandchildren, Jacob A. Atkins and wife Katie of Spring, Texas and Meredith Blount-Miller and husband Russell of San Marcos, Texas.

Mr. Johnston spent 30-plus years overseas with the Exxon group beginning in 1949 as a Junior Chemist with Humble Oil and Refining Company in Houston, Texas and retiring as Executive Director in the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 1986.  During overseas employment he traveled extensively with the family, including 11 trips around the world.

He published various technical articles on Environmental Affairs, Numismatics, Safety, and Industrial Security.  Published a book in 1974 on Industrial Security and received recognition as a Published Poet in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

Mr. Johnston was a longtime member of the Palestine Rotary Club and was a Paul Harris Fellow. Since retirement he served on Boards of Directors of Palestine Chamber of Commerce, the American Red Cross, Palestine Rotary Club, and Cartmell Home for Aged. He was a long-term volunteer at the Palestine Public Library, the Palestine Regional Medical Center, the Cartmell Home for Aged, Palestine YMCA and gave 71 tours of the Palestine city and Dogwood areas to tour buses as a “Step-on Guide” for the Palestine Visitor's Bureau.

One of his greatest joys was being with and loving his extended family, both those he leaves here and those in Heaven he will be with.

Honorary pallbearers will be all those that he had the privilege of serving with on a volunteer basis and shared his love of service to others.

In lieu of flowers, family requests donations be sent to Cartmell Home for Aged, 2212 W. Reagan St., Palestine, Texas 75801.

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