On Feb. 22, 2023, the Reverend Dr. Robert Hugh Johnston, Jr. of Victoria, TX, loving husband and father of four passed away from natural causes at the age of 92. Robert was born on Nov. 25, 1930, to Robert Hugh Johnston and Neddie Lane Johnston.
He was a polymath: cardiovascular surgeon, colonel in the U.S. Army, pilot, and Episcopal priest. He attended Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas and after transferring, he graduated from Baylor University in 1954. He then attended Baylor Medical School in Houston.
He trained as a cardiovascular surgeon with Dr. Michael DeBakey and Dr. Denton A. Cooley. He then continued to practice medicine for more than 50 years - including starting the first heart program in Victoria and establishing the Michael E. DeBakey Heart Institute of Wisconsin at the Kenosha Hospital and Medical Center.
Over the years, he helped many people live longer and have healthier lives. Transitioning from medicine in his 70s, he went to seminary through a program offered by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas (Iona program) and was ordained as a priest in 2009. For about 10 years, he served parishes on a circuit helping Episcopal churches in Hallettsville, Cuero, Edna, Goliad, and Refugio. He loved helping others in both medicine and the church. Robert also enjoyed serving his country.
He served as a flight surgeon in both the Air Force National Guard and later in the Army National Guard. He rose to the rank of colonel. He enjoyed serving with so many wonderful people and friends. This was only one of many expressions of his love for aviation. Robert was passionate about flying from his first flight at the age of fourteen to being an active member of an octogenarian flying club.
He logged more than 7,000 hours flying time and enjoyed every moment. He flew late into his 80s and even after that continued his love for aviation with countless trips to watch planes at the airport. Robert was preceded in death by his father, Robert H. Johnston Sr., and his mother, Neddie Lane Johnston.
He was a committed family man. He is survived by his devoted and supporting wife of 67 years, Sara Stuart Johnston, and their four children, William Lane (“Bill”) Johnston (Spouse: Denine), Sara L. Dotter, Robert H. (“Bob”) Johnston III, and Walter Stuart Johnston (Spouse: Lisa).
He is also survived by his devoted brother Lane Johnston and by nine grandchildren (Amanda Johnston, Allison Johnston Horan, Julia Dotter, Sara Grace Dotter, Matthew Johnston, Luke Johnston, Katherine Johnston, Hugh Johnston and Ian Johnston) and a first great grandson, Shepherd Horan. Visitation was held on Sunday, February 26, 2023 at Colonial Funeral Home.
The funeral service was held on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023 at St. Francis Episcopal Church, with interment following to Wharton Cemetery. Memorial donations may be sent to Trinity Episcopal Church, 1501 N. Glass Street, Victoria, TX 77901. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. Thoughts and memories may be shared at www.colonialfuneralhomevictoria.com.
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