Oscar Black Johnston III, “O.B.”
O.B. Johnston III, 80, was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and son who took great pride in helping people throughout his long and distinguished legal career. He passed away in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 26, 2022. O.B. was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to parents Oscar Black Johnston Jr. and Mary Kiser Johnston. His mother died when he was ten years old. His father later married Carol VanDerwiele Johnston who became his adoptive and second devoted mother.
His first job was throwing newspapers for the Tulsa Tribune. O.B. graduated from Edison High School in 1959 where he lettered in tennis. He graduated from Baylor University in 1963 with a B.B.A. and was a lifelong Baylor Bear.
O.B. received his law degree at the University of Tulsa School of Law in January of 1966, a semester early as he attended class year round. He also worked for Oklahoma Mortgage Company while attending law school. O.B. was a member of Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity, was listed on the Dean’s Honor Roll and served as associate editor of the Tulsa Law Review. He was licensed by the State Bar of Oklahoma in 1966. He was also licensed to practice in the United States District Courts for the Northern, Western, and Eastern Districts of Oklahoma, before the United States Court of Criminal Appeals for the 10th Circuit, and before the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Following graduation from law school O.B. joined the U.S. Army serving as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps from 1966-1970. He was stationed at Oakland Army Base, California, served on the staff of the United Nations Command in Seoul, Korea, and finished his tour at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, where he made life-long friends. He received a Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
In 1970, O.B. was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. He was honored to prosecute major crimes cases on behalf of the people of the United States until 1976.
O.B. married Ruthie Darrough at St Luke’s United Methodist Church, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1971. Both of their sons, Eric O. Johnston and David D. Johnston, were born in Oklahoma City.
In August of 1976, O.B. and his family moved to Vinita, Oklahoma where he entered private practice with the firm of Logan & Lowry until his retirement in January of 2014. His practice focused on family law, criminal law and civil litigation. He loved being a trial attorney. O.B. held his fellow lawyers and judges in the high regard and developed true friendships with many of them.
O.B. is past President of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation and Past State Chair of the Oklahoma Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, having received the national Outstanding State Chair award in 2008 at the American Bar Association convention in Los Angeles. He was president of the Federal Bar Association in Oklahoma City and on two occasions was appointed by the Oklahoma Supreme Court as a judge for the Temporary Court of Appeals. He was a member of the American, Federal, and Oklahoma Bar Associations.
O.B. was very active in the local community of Vinita. He served as president of Rotary Club and was named a Paul Harris Fellow. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church and served as chairman of the Council on Ministries for many years as well as the Chamber of Commerce and ROCMND Youth Services.
O.B. loved Vinita and the beauty of the area. He was an avid fisherman who enjoyed fishing on the area lakes and local farm ponds. O.B. was happiest with a rod and reel in his hands. His favorite place in the world was the cabin in Colorado where he could fish for trout in the Fryingpan River and enjoy the beauty of the mountains surrounded by the love of his family and friends. He loved travelling with Ruthie and they took many wonderful trips to places they felt privileged to enjoy together. While always a Baylor Bear fan, O.B. was also a big OU Sooner fan. He and Ruthie loved going to football games in Norman and to OU/Texas in Dallas with their good friends from Vinita. O.B. was a good tennis player and enjoyed playing doubles with so many good friends in Vinita. He was a master storyteller and had so many interesting stories from his experiences as a Federal prosecutor and JAG Corps officer. His greatest sources of pride were his two sons Eric and David as well as his granddaughters Olivia and Elizabeth. O.B. was a man of great integrity and honor and will be missed by all his loving family and loyal, devoted friends.
O.B. is survived by his wife Ruthie Darrough Johnston; two sons Eric O. Johnston and David D. Johnston; David’s wife Martha Johnston; granddaughters Olivia Johnston and Elizabeth Johnston; his mother Carol Johnston; and many loving nieces and nephews.
The memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, April 2 at the First United Methodist Church of Vinita. A graveside interment will be held at Fairlawn Cemetery in Oklahoma City at a later date. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation at 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami, FL, 33131 or by going to www.parkinson.org. Services are under the direction of Luginbuel Funeral Home.