William Bill' E. Johnston, Jr.

william johnston, jr.
On December 28, 2009, New Haven lost a champion of the people. William 'Bill' E. Johnston, Jr., age 72, passed away at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford after a long battle with respiratory illness. Born in 'Sugar Hill' Harlem, NYC to William E. Johnston, Sr. and Ernestine Steele Johnston, Bill graduated from Hillhouse High School and studied Social Science at the University of New Haven. From 1955-1959 he served in the United States Air Force, stationed in Great Britain. In the 1960s he became director of New Haven's Legion Community Center, a program of CPI,'s Model City. He was Property Manager of 2, 500 housing units for the new town of Reston in Virginia for Gulf Oil and then advanced to Vice President of Human Resources at the Gulf Oil World Headquarters in Pittsburgh. Returning to his activist roots, he became a consultant for Gateway Development Corporation in New Haven and Director of Development for Cities in Schools in Washington, DC before becoming Program Director for Columbus House in New Haven, leading that organization's increasingly-meaningful role in the local community from 1991 to 2006. Bill was President and Board Member of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness; Board Member of the Hill Development Corporation; Empower New Haven; and Family Counseling of Greater New Haven. He most recently served as Board Member of the Christian Community Action Agency, Inc. and an appointed Commissioner to the City of New Haven Homelessness Commission. Bill touched countless lives in his community family, but none more so than those of his immediate family that he leaves behind: loving wife Judith Ziomek Johnston; daughter Elizabeth Johnston and her partner Lizzette Flores; son William E. Johnston, III, his wife Shannon and their children Emma and William; nieces Valerie Aldrich and Carmen Carr; and nephews Hayward H. Gatling, Jr. and Edward Brinkley. His family wishes to thank all the nurses and healthcare professionals coordinated by Dr. Ernest Moritz with special appreciation for the Hospital of St. Raphael respiratory staff. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, January 17, at 3 p.m. at BEECHER & BENNETT FUNERAL HOME, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden. Friends may visit with his family two hours prior to the service. Internment will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bill's memory may be made to the Christian Community Action Agency, Inc., 168 Davenport Ave., New Haven, CT 06519 or City of New Haven Community Services Administration (CSA) on behalf of the Homelessness Commission, 165 Church St., New Haven, CT 06510.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Judith & family, Our prayers are with you. We are thankful for the privilege of having Bill in our lives. He will truly be missed by many. God bless you. Rick & John

  2. To the Johnston family, with thoughts of deepest sympathy, reaching out to you in heartfelt care and concern, but hopefully these simple words all coming from the heart will comfort and encourage you somehow.

  3. To the Judith and the johnston family.I can’t put into words the sorrow I feel in my heart.Bill was not just my friend but my brother.He will always be in my prayers.Untill we meet again Bill,I’ll miss you,but you will ALWAYS be in my Thoughts.Joe DeNicholas

  4. I extend my deepest sympathy to the Johnston family. I worked with Bill at the Legion Community Center many years ago. Although I seldom saw him over the years since that time I was sadden to hear of his passing. I will always remember Bill with warm thoughts as being such a caring and compassionate person who was always willing to help others in need. It was a privilege to work with Bill. He was truly a great guy and I know he will be deeply missed by his loved ones. I’m sure loving memories of Bill will sustain you. May God Bless you all in your time of grief.

  5. Liz, our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Hold tight to the memories and I hope they bring you comfort.

  6. To Liz and the entire Johnston family, our sincere condolences for the passing of William. Please take comfort in knowing that he is now in the presence of our Lord for all eternity and that his suffering has ended. You will remain in our thoughts and our prayers.

  7. Lis – I was so sorry to hear of the passing of your father. My deepest condolences to you and your family. May God bless him and the family he leaves behind. If I can do anything please contact me. Love Carol

  8. Liz, All of us, including my family send our sincere heart felt condolences to you and your entire family. I did not have the privilege or pleasure in knowing your dad, though knowing you, and you were created from him, I know Heaven will be welcoming him with open arms.

  9. To the entire Johnston family, I wish to extend my deep heartfelt sympathy to you on the passing of Bill. Bill joined the Christian Community Action Board while I was Chairman, and he was a valued and beloved member of the organization. Many a time it was Bill’s quiet words of wisdom that kept us on track and focused on the job at hand. I have the personal pain of losing a friend and comrade, and all of CCA feels deeply the loss of a Board member of great wisdom and guidance. May his soul rest in peace. With deep sympathy, John James

  10. Bill and the Johnston family: My deepest condolences. The old man is surely proud of his hard as nails war hero son. He knows you brought home over 40 boys alive, safe and now men. Very few have had that responsibility and high honor. He in his service, and you in yours, done your country proud. With much respect. CM

  11. Judy, I doubt you will ever see this but I wanted to add my belated condolences. Recently I’ve been thinking about and researching important past life experiences and a Google search produced this link. Bill, you and everything from that time period had a huge impact on me. Sorry about your loss. He was a great man. Best regards, Roger 02.05.18

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