William E. ‘Bill’ Johnston, youngest son of Horace A. and Martha Jane (Young) Johnston, was born December 17, 1923 in Diagonal, Iowa and died peacefully at his home July 30, 2009 in Bedford, Iowa at the age of 85 years, seven months and 13 days. He attended elementary schools in Newton, Grinnell and Mount Ayr and graduated in 1941 from Diagonal high school.
Bill served nearly three years in the United States Army during World War II in the European Theatre of Operations with the 3062nd QM Bakery Company Mobile Special.
On December 15, 1946 Bill married Alice Mae Jones at the Diagonal Methodist Church parsonage. Shortly after they moved to Bedford where Bill was associated in the Johnston Implement Company with his brothers, Dick and Tim Johnston. In 1961 Bill sold his part of the business and spent the next six years farming. In 1956 Bill was elected Taylor county treasurer where he served four years. From 1961-1967 he was employed as a field representative for what is now the IRS for Southwest Iowa and from 1968-1970 he served as an auditor under Lloyd R. Smith, Iowa state auditor, in the municipalities and schools divisions. In 1971 Bill opened an accounting and tax preparation service. Later property and casualty insurance, real estate and securities were added.
Bill was a member of the United Christian-Presbyterian Church, Bedford Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, Odd Fellows, Masons, all York Rite Masonic Orders, Order of Eastern Star, Za-Ga-Zig Shrine, a 64-year member of the American Legion, board member of the Selective Service System of Iowa and treasurer of the Bedford Community Housing Association, which he helped organize. He also was instrumental in the creation of the Taylor County Museum.
One of the highlights of Bill’s life was renewing friendships with his army buddies and trying to locate those with whom he had lost contact. He communicated with them on a regular basis and helped organize 24 reunions across the country.
Some of Bill’s interests were genealogy, gardening, collecting coins and plates, reading and baking bread.
Preceding Bill in death were his parents, Horace and Martha; a sister, Mildred and a brother, Robert, who both died at birth; his brothers, Robert (Bob) Johnston, Richard (Dick) Johnston and Thomas (Tim) Johnston; sister-in-law, Floretta Johnston; nephew, Billy Lee Johnston; parents-in-law, Zell and Bessie Jones, and brother-in-law, James (Jim) Jones.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Alice Mae Johnston; sisters-in-law, Lola Louise Johnston, Alice Lucille Johnston and Edna Jones, and brother-in-law, Bob (wife Margo) Jones.
Bill had a great love for his many nieces and nephews and their extended families. One special great nephew is his namesake, William Thomas Boos. Bill also leaves behind his good buddy ‘Pudd’ (Kirsten Ritchie).
Bill will be missed by his entire family and his many friends. They will hold the memories of his wisdom and counsel as a wonderful gift. He will live on in their hearts forever.
Funeral services were held Saturday, August 1, 2009, at the Ritchie Funeral Home in Bedford. Interment was held in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr with military rites accorded by the Mount Ayr American Legion Post No. 172 and the Iowa Army National Guard. Instead of flowers the family requested memorials be directed to the Taylor County Museum or the UCPC Church. Memories can be shared with the family at www.ritchiefuneralhome.com. Arrangements were entrusted to the Ritchie Funeral Home of Bedford.