Ralph Cameron Johnston



North Andover, Mass. and Sullivan

Ralph Cameron Johnston of North Andover, Mass., and Sullivan, died on Nov. 26, 2021, at the age of 93. He was born in New Kensington, Pa., and from an early age had a particular interest in moving machines— trains, automobiles and airplanes. To that end, he earned BS and MS degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spent most of his professional life as a civilian program manager at the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Ralph was awarded the Air Force Exceptional Service medal several times and, in 1986, the presidential rank of Distinguished Executive for his pioneering work in missile capability development. He retired from the Senior Executive Service in 1987 and finished his career as a consultant to the aerospace industry.

In 1956, Ralph married Kathleen Barr. Together, they were active volunteers at the Dayton Art Institute, Aullwood Audubon Center and Vanguard Chamber Music Series. Kit died of an unexpected illness in 1991 and, in 1996, Ralph married Margaret (Peggy) Padelford Karns. Both enjoyed travel, especially in Asia, museums and classical music. Summers were spent at Peggy’s family house in Sullivan Harbor, where both were involved with the Pierre Monteux School in Hancock, helping to initiate the Monteux Associates. In 2012, they moved to the Edgewood Retirement Community in North Andover, Mass., to be near Ralph’s family and the Maine house.

Ralph is survived by his wife, Peggy, daughter Katherine Notley (Patrick) of Riverside, R.I., son Douglas (Nina) of Boston and Kennebunkport, grandson Cameron (Maria) of Boston and granddaughter Celia of Boston. Gifts in Ralph’s memory may be made to The Pierre Monteux School, P.O. Box 457, Hancock, ME 04640.


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