JOHNSTON, Wilbur Earl
Wilbur Earl Johnston, of Dayton Ohio, passed away on April 19, 2021, at home with family. He was 96. Wil was born in
Sidney, Ohio, on March 21, 1925, to Bertha Maude (Fletcher) and Millard Ellis Johnston. He graduated from Sidney High School in 1943, where he competed in football, basketball, tennis and track. He earned 11 varsity letters and was inducted into the Sidney High School Hall of Honor in 1999. Upon graduation from high school Wil enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served in Italy during WWII as a navigator on B-24 bombers with the 15th Air Force, 456 Bombardment Group, 746 Bomb Squadron. He flew 57 missions and 35 sorties, and was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses. After completing his military service Wil enrolled in Ohio State University. He received his doctoral degree in dental surgery in 1950 and was a member of Psi Omega Dental Fraternity. During his freshman year, Wil played on the 1945-46 Buckeye's varsity basketball team and spent his 21st birthday competing in the semi-finals of the NCAA championships at Madison Squares Garden. That season the Buckeyes were the Big Ten Champions and placed 3rd in the NCAA Championships. Wil moved to Kettering, Ohio, following graduation from the Ohio State College of Dentistry in 1950. After interning at Miami Valley Hospital in dentistry and anesthesia, he performed anesthesia for general surgery at Miami Valley Hospital for seven years and established the first dentistry practice in Kettering. He had the pleasure of working with and providing dental services to close friends and families in the Kettering area for 38 years. Wil loved thoroughbred horse racing. He established Fourwyn Stable in 1960 and in 1970, with his friend and partner of many years- George Smith, purchased 110 acres on Nutt Road that became known as Woodburn Farm. Woodburn became one of the most prominent thoroughbred horse farms in Ohio and raised many horses that competed on the national stage. Wil served as a past president of the Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners, and loved going to the track with his friends and family. On September 13, 1947, Wil began the most important journey of his life when he married his high school sweetheart, Letitia ("Tee") Burke. Tee remained the love of his life and best friend until her death in 2014. Together Wil and Tee enjoyed nearly 66 years of marriage and 70 years as a couple. They had five children, 6 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild. Wil loved each of them deeply and unconditionally. Wil also enjoyed, cherished and nurtured rich and lasting friendships with people throughout his life. These friendships formed an extended family and enriched his life greatly. Upon their arrival in
Kettering in 1950, Wil and Tee became members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, which remained Wil's church family and a central focus of his life. Wil was preceded in death by his wife, Tee; his sons, Steve, Paul and Mark; his brothers, Hal and Ralph; and his "much older" sister, Marguerite. He is survived by two daughters, Barbara Bartel of Troy, OH, and Ann (Ray Taketa) Johnston of Lafayette, CA.; six grandchildren:
Victoria Johnston of Inver Grove Heights, MN, Joe (Sara)
Valentine of Jackson, OH, Brooke (Matt) Cole of Seattle, WA, Joshua (Marie) Valentine of Cincinnati, OH, Samantha Taketa of Lafayette, CA, Sarah Taketa of Monterey, CA; ten great- grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild, three nephews and many wonderful great-nieces and nephews. Wil loved his family, his friends, and sports. He was loved for his personal integrity, gentle nature, easy charm, quick wit and gracious humor. He was sweet and charming to the very end. The
family wishes to acknowledge and thank the wonderful caregivers from Gracework's Hands at Home, Graceworks Health at Home and Senior Helpers who worked with Wil over the years, the doctors, nurses and aides from Hospice of Dayton who worked with Wil this past year, and Wil's many friends, whose love and compassion provided his last years with so much grace, dignity and joy. It was a good ride. For those who wish to do so, memorials may be made to Hospice of Dayton (hospiceofdayton.org/donations) or Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 901 E. Stroop Rd., Kettering, OH 45429. Condolences may be sent to www.tobiasfuneralhome.com.