MACEO, Ky. — Dr. Joel A. Johnston, 64, passed away at his home Tuesday, March 24, 2020, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Dr. Johnston was born Feb. 2, 1956, in Ft. Pierce, Florida, to Ira Johnston and the late Ann Allen Johnston.
The family relocated to Madisonville, Kentucky, where he grew up and graduated from Madisonville North Hopkins High School. He attended Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, for two years where he was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity before transferring to Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Kentucky, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree.
In 1985, he was accepted into the University of Kentucky School of Medicine and graduated with a degree in Family Practice in 1989. After completing his residency at Anderson Memorial Hospital in Anderson, South Carolina, he began practice in the Emergency Room at Our Lady of Mercy Hospital where he remained until it merged with Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital.
At that time, he began Family Practice in Hancock County, Kentucky. While in Hancock County he also began to work part-time in the Ohio County Hospital Emergency Room until 2011 when he had the opportunity to go full time at Ohio County Hospital Emergency Room. Emergency Room medicine was his real passion and he remained there until cancer forced his retirement in 2019.
Dr. Johnston was a quiet, caring, compassionate man who loved God, nature, his personal and professional families, UK sports, music, theatre, Old South Bar-B-Q and Diane’s Bakery. He gave back to the community in many ways: as camp physician at New Song Music Festival for several years, as church youth director in area churches, he accompanied Dr. Hurley on a medical missionary trip to Haiti, he appeared in area Christian dramas, he sang in the church choir and in the local Messiah, and he was a fervent supporter of St. Judes Children Hospital.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Ann Johnston; a nephew, Caleb Jenkins; and a great-nephew, Michael Bayne Canon Jr.
Dr. Johnston is survived by his wife of 40 years, Denette Johnson Johnston; sons, Joshua Johnston (Shonda), of Winchester, Kentucky, and James (Jay) Johnston, of Owensboro; grandson, Carter; granddaughter, Autumn, of Winchester; father, Ira Johnston, of Madisonville; sister, Mary Jane Poole (Mitch), of Madisonville; four nieces, two nephews, several great-nieces and -nephews; one great-great-niece; and mother-in-law, Sandra Pride, of Owensboro.
The family would like to express their appreciation to all the people who helped in any way during these difficult times. In compliance with health and public safety directives, a celebration of Dr. Johnston’s life will be held at a later date.
Expressions of sympathy may take the form of donations to:
Wendell Foster Rehabilitation Facility
815 Triplett Street
Memories and condolences for the family of Dr. Joel Johnston may be shared at www.glenncares.com.