Title: Army Air Corps Corporal, World War II
Birthdate: May 23, 1924
Death Date: February 15, 1945
Plot Location: Sec 43, Lot 9, northeast quarter
This grandson of a Civil War veteran might not have even known that part of his grandfather’s life story. After the war grandpa Alexander Johnston was a house painter (read his “Notable” life story here), then his son William worked for over 20 years as a painter for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Stephen was William’s youngest child, having four older sisters and a brother, Alex, who was six years older.
One year of high school was enough for Stephen, choosing instead to live for a time with Alex in New Jersey. By the time he was 18 he was back with his parents in the Melrose neighborhood in South Philly. He enlisted just before his 19th birthday but the next few months were difficult. In the middle of adjusting to Army life and basic training, his father died on July 17, 1943 and Alex was killed in an airplane accident less than a month later. (Read his “Notable” life story here.)
Stephen became a corporal in the Army Air Corps, stationed at Charleston Army Airfield, South Carolina. He was shot in the abdomen while on an army airplane on January 29, 1945, then he died from the injury on February 15 in the hospital. Records indicated it was accidental, but didn’t specify if it was self-inflicted. An autopsy also revealed he had chronic kidney disease, peritonitis, and uremia.
His burial took place here around the Johnston family obelisk. He is remembered on one side of the monument with his father, brother and mother.
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