Woodstock native Bill Johnston was chosen as the 2012 recipient of the award bestowed by Preservation Woodstock on a resident who has been instrumental in the preservation of the city’s heritage and history.
“He is civic minded and carries on the tradition of the Johnston family, one of the founding fathers of Woodstock, and the family has been instrumental not only in the business community, but in the residential parts of the city,” said city historian Juanita Hughes. “Their home received an award for their preservation efforts. The house they live in is the house his parents lived when he was born.”
As Citizen of the Year, Johnston will ride in Woodstock’s Christmas Jubilee parade on Dec. 1. After the parade, the award will officially be presented at ceremonies at the gazebo in the City Park.
Hughes said that Johnston helped with signage at the Rope Mill Park to mark the history of the area where his family once owned and operated the Rope Mills.
“He knows all about the mill’s workings,” Hughes said. “He is just good to help in any way he can with whatever is going on with Preservation Woodstock.”
Johnston also helped document the history of the area.
“He is interested in having the history of the community recorded,” Hughes said. “What he does is not for recognition, but he does a lot for the community quietly.”
The Johnston family has long been active in Woodstock United Methodist Church and supportive of the Cherokee County public libraries and Reinhart University, among many other organizations.
The Johnstons also support the Cherokee Historical Society and numerous efforts around the county.
“He and his wife, Mary, are usually at City Council meetings, always watching this everlasting evolution of our city,” Hughes said. “They have been involved in the Living Centers Imitative Discussions as well.”
The award has been presented annually since 1997 to someone who has been active in the preservation of Woodstock’s history and heritage. Former recipients include Hughes, who received the award the first year, Bill’s brother, Smith Johnston, who received it in 1998 and Kim Jordy who received it last year. Bill’s wife Mary Johnston received it in 2005.
The Barbara G. Ingram Citizen of the Year award is named in honor of Barbara Ingram. Barbara was secretary/co-chair of the Woodstock Centennial Commission that had organized to plan and carry through a celebration of the city’s 100th birthday in 1997.
She died in December of 1996, just one month short of the year long celebration. The award was suggested by Mayor David Rogers as a way to honor Barbara and others who would follow her example in efforts to preserve the city’s history.