Donald M. Johnston ’48

Donald M. Johnston ’48 died of cancer July 8, 2012, in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. He was born May 21, 1924, in Providence and prepared for college at Needham (Mass.) High School. He attended Duke University from 1942 to 1943 before serving as an Army paratrooper in the 508th Parachute Infantry of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II. He jumped behind enemy lines on D-Day in Normandy, and was one of 22 survivors of the 41 men in his unit. He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. After the war, he enrolled at Bowdoin, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. He worked as a sales distributor for Link Belt Corporation in Boston and Milwaukee for 25 years, then for Badger Bearing Company in Milwaukee before opening his own business, Don Johnston Inc., in Wisconsin Rapids. He retired in 1984. He was a championship golfer and enjoyed hunting, woodworking, cooking, and working in his yard. He often talked to groups and individuals about his experience as a paratrooper, and in 2009 he traveled back to Normandy to visit the site of his jump. He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Barbara Mitchell Johnston; son Brian MacDuff Johnston; daughter Lynn Kirkbride; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was predeceased by a brother, Gordon Johnston.

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