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Friday November 16, 2012

Lloyd Johnston

Dairy farmer, physician, husband, grandfather. Born March 7, 1917, in Calgary, died Sept. 5, 2012, in Lethbridge, Alta., of natural causes, aged 95.

Lloyd was the son of Ethel and Raymond Johnston, who were dairy farmers in Springbank, west of Calgary.

Early in life, he had first-hand experience with birth, illness, death and work, which cultivated his work ethic and influenced his career choice.

He was 2 when his brother Hartley was born and 5 when Hartley died of an inoperable brain tumour. He was 8 when his second brother, Barry, was born and 11 when Barry died of a ruptured appendix. He was 13 when Shirley, his only sister, was born. With the medical advances today both brothers probably would have lived.

As the only surviving son, Lloyd was up at five in the morning 365 days a year to milk 35 cows before breakfast. In later years, he would be up at seven and operating by eight most weekday mornings, sometimes after being up in the night delivering a baby or two.

During the Second World War, he studied medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Medical students at that time were required to study year round to complete their training as soon as possible: Medical officers were needed overseas.

He graduated in May, 1944, then interned at Royal Alexandra Hospital for eight months before being sent to Camp Borden in Ontario for officer training in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corp.

By that time Lloyd was married to Jessie Booth, a student nurse. They had to get permission from her nursing school to marry, since at that time student nurses were not allowed to. Permission was granted when Lloyd was assigned to go overseas (though the war ended before he left for Europe).

In 1950, Lloyd received his specialist certificate in obstetrics and gynecology, and for the next 42 years he delivered babies and cared for women in Lethbridge, Alta. Only once, in 1955, did he take a sabbatical from his busy practice to work as senior assistant to Prof. J. Chassar Moir at Oxford Medical School in England.

Lloyd had learned at a very early age that life could not be taken for granted. Later, he learned the value of a life lived well.

To his wife, he was a loving, loyal companion for 67 years. To his five daughters he was a compassionate, steadfast father. To his grandchildren he was a first-class role model.

To his community he was a respected physician and active member of the United Church, the Kiwanis Club and the University of Lethbridge Senate.

Erik, one of his grandsons, summarizes Lloyd's character in this way: "It takes a strong man to have the diligence and endurance to serve in those ways for an entire lifetime."

Marcia Langenberg is commonly known as Daughter No. 3.

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