IN MEMORIAM: Michael Johnston '91


The Rev. Dr. Michael A. Johnston, Class of 1991, whose call to the priesthood came after a significant and gifted career in science, died December 3, 2015, in Prairie Village, Kansas. Johnston was born May 23, 1946, in Kansas City, Missouri. Early in his childhood, his family moved to Colorado.  Following graduation from Colorado College, cum laude, in 1968, he received his Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biological Sciences from Yale University. Chemistry and Biology professorships followed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago. He was a significant research professor and published a number of articles in scientific journals.

In 1988, he left the University of Chicago and entered The General Theological Seminary. Following ordination to the priesthood, he served parishes in the Chicago region, most significantly as long-time Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Oak Park, Illinois. A hallmark of his pastorate was sponsoring tours to the holy places of Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

In 2006, Johnston moved back to Kansas City, due to a disabling illness. Still wishing to be active in some way, he served until his death on the staff of Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral as Scholar-in-Residence. In this position he provided the Cathedral congregation with many seminars and courses of great value. He was a great teacher and a prolific writer, and well known to most of today’s leading religious scholars.  Johnston also had a passion for Byzantine and Renaissance religious art, opera and cooking. He was a beloved member of the Cathedral congregation and will be greatly missed. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lucille Milanovich Johnston and Ellis Thomas Johnston, and one sister, Cathy Johnston. He is survived by a sister, Diana Rose, of Ft. Collins, Colorado, and nephew, Demian Schroeder of Brooklyn, New York.

His memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, January 22 at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City, MO 64105.