Services for Dr. Thomas R. Johnston, 72, of Ada will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at First United Methodist Church in Ada.
If helping people grants souls points in the afterlife, then Dr. Thomas Reed Johnston, of Ada, should be flush. On the morning of April 18, 2018, Dr. Johnston began viewing his beloved countryside from a more heavenly vantage when he died peacefully of natural causes. During his years on Earth, he healed countless people, forged lasting friendships, and made a home and a family even as he injected a little humor into the world. He remained resolute, principled and uncomplaining throughout the end. TJ will be forever missed but not forgotten.
Johnston was born Oct. 6, 1945, in New Orleans to Harmon Reed Johnston and Alma Ruth Creel Johnston of Gulfport, Mississippi, where the coast and bayous whetted his appetite for adventure. The lifeguard and Boy Scout soon developed a passion for the outdoors as he fished for bluegills with his father. An honor student at Gulfport High, Johnston graduated near the top of his pre-med class at Mississippi State University where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity before receiving a Medical Doctor degree from the University of Tennessee. There, he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha honorary medical fraternity for achievement. Citing its world-class quail hunting, Johnston relocated to Ada, where he practiced his exceptional craft at Valley View Regional Hospital and Ada Internal Medicine. Johnston considered himself an old-school country doctor and was beloved by his many patients and co-workers. He retired from medical practice in 2014 after a life devoted to healing.
TJ, as his friends called him, bore a wit sharper than the Tiger Pawn gemstones he collected. He was fast with a joke. He once named a quarter horse "Depot's Debut" just to hear the howl of laughter from the grandstands as the announcer flubbed the name during the backstretch. TJ delighted in both abstract woodwork and building practical things. He was a benefactor member of the National Rifle Association. In March 2017, he accomplished his lifelong goal of catching a bass over eight pounds.
Dr. Johnston never claimed to be perfect, and never spoke down to anyone. He was thankful, and never wasted time. Those who knew him best knew he wasn't keen on government regulations, computers or carrots. He loved his bird dogs, H&H spinner baits, side-by-side shotguns and miserably cold mornings in December when ducks fly best. The extent to which this man loved coffee cannot be overstated. Johnston welcomed deep spiritual debate during Sunday school and never shied from politics. He was active in the First United Methodist Church and credits it, God and his sweet wife for saving his life years ago.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Jane Hale Johnston; his daughter, Jennifer; his son, Jeff; his grandchildren, Kate and Harmon Notter, all of Ada; his beloved sister, Mary Anne Barkley of Gulfport, Mississippi, Julie Rollins Garick, Mike Rollins, Bobby Chandler; and many more relatives from the South.
If TJ were alive he'd recommend donating any time and money to helping less fortunate people or the P.A.W.S. animal shelter in Ada 1200 Sandy Creek Drive, Ada, OK 74820.
May he forever enjoy God's fertile fields and waters above.
Published on April 20, 2018