Tributes & Stories

Find an Obituary

The obituary news listed on this page is provided by newspapers and from funeral homes only:


Obituary (CA): John William Johnston '47

Posted on 09/21/2018

John William Johnston  (January 20, 1926 - August 25, 2018)

John William Johnston, a longtime resident of Saratoga and Los Gatos passed away on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018.

John was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he lived until attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland (class of 1947). After graduation, he became a naval aviator and flew carrier jets (A3D's) on the USS Forrestal and the USS Constellation, and served as "air boss" on the USS Oriskany (the "mighty O") from 1965-66 for which he was awarded the Bronze Star for exceptional meritorious service. Thereafter he served as executive officer of the Science Department and then head of the Math Department at the US Naval Academy (1966-1970), before serving as a military liaison with NATO in Northwood, England, and thereafter with DIA in Washington, DC. John served earlier tours at Naval Air Stations in Port Lyautey, Morocco, and Patuxent River, Maryland, as well as the China Lake Naval Weapons Station in California.

John completed graduate work at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey -- where he met and married Virginia Stoddard of Pebble Beach (his wife of 61 years), and then he earned a masters degree in aeronautical engineering at MIT. He completed additional studies at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

Upon retiring from the Navy, John and Virginia moved to Saratoga where they lived from 1976-2010, before moving to the Los Gatos Meadows in 2011. John enjoyed gardening, playing bridge, reading and traveling. He was a member of the Los Gatos Presbyterian Church, and previously served as an elder and the clerk of session at the Saratoga Presbyterian Church.

He is survived by his two daughters, Mary Carole Smartt (of Boulder, CO) and Frances Johnston (of Menlo Park, CA); and four granddaughters – Katie, Caroline, Betsy and Annie. His loving and generous spirit, strong Christian faith, and southern wit and charm will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Friends and family are invited to attend a memorial service for John at the Los Gatos Meadows, 110 Wood Road, Los Gatos, CA at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 30, 2018. A reception will follow.

Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Sept. 21, 2018