William M. Johnston '50


William M. Johnston passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 16, 2021.

Born in Champaign, Illinois on October 26, 1928, Doc, as he was known to family and friends, was a proud member of the basketball team for Champaign High School, especially when the team won the high school state basketball championship in 1946.

He attended college at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and continued on to medical school at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Doc maintained a private practice in orthopedic surgery from 1959 to 1996 and continued to actively operate until 2008. During his career he took on many roles, including serving as the Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Samuel Merritt Hospital as well as President of the Medical Staff. He was on staff at Summit Medical Center, John Muir, Children's Hospital Medical Center of Northern California, and UCSF. He also served as an Orthopedic Surgery Consultant to the Oakland A's and the Seals Hockey team.

He took great pride in his medical practice, and his passion for medicine and helping others was truly his calling in life. He loved every moment of his career in orthopedic surgery.

Doc is survived by his wife of 19 years, Sylvia Breuner Johnston. He is also survived by his three children, Bill Johnston (Jenny), Beth Handel (Joe), and Joel Johnston (Joanie). He was previously married to Mary Harrington Johnston from 1952 until the time of her passing in 2000. Doc is also survived by his 16 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and his very sweet dog Rosy.

A service and memorial will be held privately by his family at St. Stephen's in Orinda

View the online memorial for William M. Johnston

Published by East Bay Times on Aug. 15, 2021.