Dr. William Henry Johnston was born on the 15th of March, 1900 in Chatham, Ontario. His parents were Alexander Young Johnston and the former Alice Josephine Clements. He had two younger brothers, Chester Alexander (1902-1972) and George Herbert (1904-1908). George drowned on Christmas Eve, while playing with a sleigh on the ice on the Thames River.
He attended a local Raleigh Twp school S.S. #5 before going to Chatham to attend high school at the Chatham Collegiate Institute. Dr. Johnston went on to the The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine and graduated M.D. in 1929. He interned in Detroit for 2 years. While there he served as the Regatta Surgeon for the Detroit Yacht Club from 1929-1930. He moved to a general family practice in Chatham in 1930.
Dr. Johnston married Patricia Marie Collins, on the 18th of July, 1934 at St. Peters Cathedral in London, Ontario. At the time of their marriage, Dr. Johnston resided at 39 Richmond Street in Chatham. Mrs. Johnston was born on the 16th of April,1910 the daughter of Jeremiah Collins and the former Margaret Corrish. She had an older brother named Joseph and a younger brother named George. Her father was a hotel keeper and in 1921, the family resided at the Brunswick Hotel, which was located at 331 Talbot Street in London. The Brunswick Hotel was built in 1855 at the corner of Talbot Street and York Street. It was demolished in 2008 after a fire gutted the building. Prior to the fire, it had been designated as a heritage site. Mrs. Johnston trained as a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chatham.
In 1943, Dr. Johnston was appointed as the Medical Officer of Health and he was named as a Kent County Coroner in 1963. Dr. Johnston was instrumental in vaccinating school children. In 1943, he received special permission from the Ontario Minister of Health, the Hon. Mr. Kelly to conduct a voluntary immunization program. Dr. Johnston’s office was located at 61 Victoria Ave. in Chatham.
Dr. Johnston enjoyed bowling and golf in his spare time. He sponsored the teaching of ballet and examination by the Royal Academy of Ballet in Chatham and Kent County.
Dr. Johnston died in 1973 and he was buried near his parents in the St. Thomas Anglican Cemetery in Dover Twp, Kent County.