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Stephen C. Johnston

Michael Orgill

For over twenty years, Steve Johnston provided unflagging organizational and financial support for his favorite cause…USCA International competition. In addition, he had a long list of personal on-court successes and served on various key national committees.

In 1993, as Chairman of the International Committee, he traveled to Echuka, Australia, for the first US foray into the MacRobertson Shield competition. This was to be the first of four “MacRobs” he attended, followed by Cheltenham UK in 1996, Christ Church, New Zealand in 2000, and the National Croquet Club in Florida in 2003. It’s easy to be a fan when your team is winning, but years of frustration and might-have-beens tell you who your real supporters are.

According to long-time champion US International team player, Jeff Soo, “Material support is always appreciated, but what really helps the team is knowing it’s not just six guys on their own; and that you have your friends and fellow Americans behind you during the actual matches and throughout the year.  Steve was there in the bad years as well as the good ones.”

He had a quiet way of calming fears and motivating people, and a knack for identifying important initiatives that make a difference. His ongoing, unwavering financial support and encouragement made it possible for the USA to field its best teams at a time when we were considered second tier by many other countries.  He was instrumental in proving them wrong and elevating American croquet to the highest level worldwide. Over the past fifteen years, he was always there for the team whenever there was a need.

Steve and his wife Pam hosted both MacRob and Solomon teams at their home in North Carolina, for pre-tournament tune-ups, and he provided stunning team uniforms and rain gear.  Steve also made it possible for Erv Peterson to accompany 2010 and 2014 teams to England and New Zealand as a much appreciated team manager. His financial support was crucial, consistent and unflagging, and his donation of time, counsel and wisdom was invaluable. In addition to his team support, Steve also chaired the USCA’s Handicap and Rules Committees.

Some of his many competitive accomplishments include multiple wins at Useppa and Palm Coast, plus the Midwest Regional, Arizona Open, North Carolina Doubles Teams, and the Canadian National Singles Championships. Multiple runners-up finishes include the Florida Open, Palm Beach Invitational, and Osborn Cup.  He finished fifth in Singles and third in Doubles in the USCA National Championship. According to other championship players, Steve’s play may not have been elegant, but he was always an enjoyable opponent because of his attitude, demeanor, and his bonhomie. Known for his humor and wit, he always displayed an easy manner, whether winning or losing, one of the toughest tricks in the game.

Steve was an initial contributor to Chuck Steuber for the building of the National Croquet Center, continuing his support of the USCA and CFA until his passing in 2015. Recently, he and Pam were the first members and significant supporters of John Curington’s new, five-lawn Ponte Vedra Croquet Club, recruiting new members and providing financial and educational aid. He learned the game while a homeowner on Useppa Island, and was a member and active supporter of Linville Ridge and Arizona Croquet Clubs.  Steve was a USCA member since 1990.

A strong national team is good for US croquet in many ways, and Steve’s exceptional support was critical to the success we have achieved. Inducting Steve Johnston into the US Croquet Hall of Fame is a fitting recognition for this true ambassador for the sport.

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