Hugh J. Johnston

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Hugh J. Johnston, PGM,
Hugh J. Johnston, PGM (From the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library Collection)

Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1949-1950

Hugh J. Johnston was born on April 13, 1885 in Yale, Michigan. His early schooling was obtained in a rural school near Yale. Later, he completed a night course in business school in Charlotte. On August 1, 1905 he accepted a position as a ground-man for the old Michigan State Telephone Company in Holly. This job led to a lifetime career in the telephone field. He rapidly advanced to the position of inspector and on March 17, 1910 was made manager of the Charlotte Branch. He successively became manager of Traverse City, Port Huron, Petoskey Telephone Companies. On May 1, 1922 he became the district commercial superintendent of the newly formed Traverse City district of the Michigan Bell Telephone Company. He held this position until his retirement in 1945. On November 28, 1906, he married Pearle Wisner. While in Petoskey he served as a director and president of the Chamber of Commerce. As a resident of Port Huron, he was a director of the YMCA. He also served for many years as a city commissioner and on the board of county supervisors. He was also a member of the City Planning Commission and the County Health Committee. He was a former Mayor of Traverse City, a past president of the Rotary Club, a member of the Salvation Army advisory board, County chairman of the American Red Cross, and past president of the Wolverine Chapter of the Telephone Pioneers in America. He long acted as the first President of the Scenic Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America. In 1943 he was presented with the Silver Beaver award for distinguished service to boyhood. He was also the State Director of the Crippled Children’s Society and a director of the Traverse City Youth Center. In 1939 he was awarded a gold medal and unanimously named the “Most useful citizen in Traverse City.”

He was raised as a Master Mason in Traverse City Lodge No. 222 on February 19, 1915. After serving in several offices of the Lodge, he was duly elected as Worshipful Master in 1926. At the annual meeting of The Grand Lodge in Lansing on March 25, 1943, Brother Johnston was duly elected to the office of Grand Marshal and regularly advanced until May 25, 1949 when he was elected as Most Worshipful Grand Master. During his term of office, there were 153,000 Masons in 525 lodges in Michigan.

He died on May 16, 1966.

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