Harry D. Johnston
Published in The Arizona Republic on November 5, 2009
Harry D. Johnston,
age 87, passed away on Wednesday, October 28, 2009. Harry was born on
July 14, 1922 in Los Angeles, California and from his early years he lived,
ate and slept "baseball".
His goal was to become a professional baseball player. During his high
school years he played semi-pro ball throughout the state of California
with RKO Studios, The Yankee Juniors, The May Company and other teams.
He was a left-handed pitcher and therefore earned the nickname of "Lefty".
Harry reached his goal of "professional baseball player" in
1942 when he signed a contract with the Portland Ball Club which was part
of the Pacific Coast League.
At the end of the 1942 season he was drafted into the World War II Armed
Services. He was a pilot in the Air Force and served overseas in the 8th
Air Force in England at which time he recieved the Distinguished Flying
Cross along with other honors. He was honorably discharged in 1945.
In 1946 Harry signed a contract with the Oakland Ball Club. Unfortunately,
that year he hurt his pitching arm which ended his pitching career. In
that year, however, he married his loving wife of 63 years, Maxine.
Harry moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1950 and joined the First National
Bank of Arizona in 1951. He served as President of the Arizona Bankers
Association and was on numerous Boards including the Phoenix Art Museum.
After a distinguished career in banking, Harry retired in 1983 as President
of First Interstate Bank, but remained on the Board of Directors of the
Bank until 1991.
His love for sports, especially baseball, never stopped-he only changed
from a "participator" to a "spectator". After retirement,
he became and avid golfer, baseball watcher, reader and history buff.
Harry was always a loving, caring husband, father, grandfather and friend.
He never failed to help in any way possible anyone (family or friend)
in need of counseling, advise or encouragement. He was truly an exceptionallly
intelligent and sharing individual.
The world will seem emptier without Harry in it.
Harry is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Maxine, his daughter
Linda, his son, Gary Johnston, his three grandchildren, Jina, Kyle, and
Leanna and his cousin Margie Dew. He was dearly loved and will be greatly
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 11:00AM
at Green Acres Chapel of Light, 401 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, Arizona.
In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the American Cancer Society
or the Arizona Humane Society.