Word has been received that the Reverend Frank N. Johnston, 91, of Onset died December 31. He leaves family in Buzzards Bay.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Frank F. and Edith (Ackeson) Johnston. He attended Trinity School in New York City and later St. Lawrence University and the Theological School of St. Lawrence University. While still an undergraduate, he married the former Barbara Grant of the Bronx, and she shared in his ministry.
Mr. Johnston moved to Massachusetts to serve the Episcopal Church first as curate at Trinity Church Newton Center, then as rector at St. Mark's Foxboro. Perhaps the most significant event of his ministry and best expression of his Christian faith was when he led a small group from St. Mark’s to Alabama to participate in Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s march from Selma to Montgomery in support of voting rights.
When he moved to Christ Church in Manhasset, New York, he collaborated with Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where he later became a trustee, to house a drug rehabilitation program at his church. He founded and initially staffed a youth-oriented hotline program, and developed a safe house for abused women and children. He brought parishioners to a rural mission church in Haiti to elicit their support for a clean water project and a health clinic for the community.
Mr. Johnston “retired” to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands in 1986, but was soon asked to serve as interim dean of the Cathedral Church of All Saints for two years, and later helped establish Nazareth-by-the-Sea mission church.
For 18 summers he was chaplain and junior unit head at Camp O-At-Ka, an Episcopal-affiliated boys camp in East Sebago, Maine.
In the early 2000s he returned to New England, settling in Onset to be closer to his children and also spend time at the family summer home in Pocasset.
He leaves his children, Peter Johnston of Onset, Julie Golkowski of New Hampshire, Scott Johnston of Onset, Thomas Johnston of Buzzards Bay, and Jill Robb of Florida; and their families that include his 15 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is planned for the spring.