Remembering Bruce Johnston

June 01, 2009

Bruce Johnston, longtime educator, evangelist and church administrator, died quietly at home in Medford, Ore., April 6, 2009, at age 83.

Johnston was born in Medford on Nov. 23, 1925. He attended Walla Walla College (now Walla Walla University) and graduated in 1950. While there, he met and married Marianette Wilcox, his lifelong partner and wife.

Early on Johnston pastored in both Centralia and Aberdeen, Wash. While completing his advanced degree at the seminary, he accepted an invitation to teach at Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University). Later he headed the religion department at what was then called Southern Missionary College (now Southern Adventist University).

Following a decade of service overseas in the Far Eastern Division, including an assignment as president of the Sarawak Mission in Bornea, Johnston returned to the United States where he served as president of the Idaho and Washington conferences, and then 10 more years as president of the North Pacific Union Conference, where he retired in 1996.

Johnston's vision for global mission helped Operation Bearhug mobilize evangelistic efforts to Russia and the former Soviet block nations. Kicked off in the early 90s, this program helped NPUC members personally see the value of short-term missions around the world.

Since his retirement Johnston stayed active in global evangelism. Most recently he launched the MegaVoice project with portable solar audio units sent to strategic spots around the world.

The family has asked that all memorial donations be sent to: MegaVoice Project, North Pacific Union Conference, 5709 N. 20th Street, Ridgefield, Wash., 98642.