Memorials, 0821 WYBJ, Vol. 44 No. 4. 42

PositionVol. 44 4 Pg. 42


No. Vol. 44 No. 4 Pg. 42

Wyoming Bar Journal

August, 2021

Harry Roy "H.R." Johnston

H.R. Johnston, a cantankerous but loving father, friend, and businessman, died Friday June 4, 2021, at his home in Douglas. He was 79.

He was born on Tuesday, April 28, 1942, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to parents Harry and Rachel Johnston. They lived on a small farm until 1947 when they relocated to Douglas, Wyoming. After graduating from Douglas High School, H.R. attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, graduating with a degree in Economics in 1964. He went on to the University of Wyoming College of Law where he graduated with honors in 1967.

H.R. earned plenty of accolades, including winning his third-grade spelling bee, not to mention being a baseball, football and horseshoe champion at various stages of life. For many years, H.R. operated a portable toilet business. He had his 15-minutes—or perhaps 2 ½ minutes—of fame, when one of them was featured in the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

H.R spent many years living between Denver and Douglas. In 1984, He moved to Douglas permanently and joined his father at Johnston Realty, which has been family-owned since 1958.

He served on the Douglas City Council, was President of the Douglas Community Club, and served as President of F.A.I.R., Inc. (a non-profit organization promoting the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas). He considered Wyoming the only logical and reasonable place to live, as evidenced by his real estate website that notes, “If you’re smart enough to leave California and New York, we’ll welcome you here.”

He was irritated by many, and the feeling was mutual, but in his soul, he was gentle, kind and down-to-earth. When he laughed, his eyes had a sparkle that could give Santa Claus a run for his money. While H.R. had plenty of opinions, his email responses rarely contained no more than a word or two and conversations on the phone were decidedly brief.

He cooked the best corned beef hash in the Western Hemisphere, thought butter was a vitamin supplement and often fell asleep to movies during the opening credits. He introduced his children to the finest of culture, including the movies “Airplane” and “Animal House,” every variety of pie, and the music of Tom T. Hall, who sang about a root-beer drinking snake, a one-legged chicken and the importance of feeling pretty inside. H.R. hated John Denver.


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