William “Ed” Johnston was born July 27, 1934 in Ranger, Texas, the middle child and only son to Ernest and Sarah Johnston. He moved to Monument, NM when he was only 5 years old.
Ed attended school in Eunice, NM where he met the love of his life, Frances, and married her in 1952.Ed and Frances celebrated 69 years together and during that time raised three children, Keith, DeEtta and Kyle. In 1962, Ed began his ranching career, where he raised Herefords and later added cross bred cattle and Registered Angus to his operation. Ed was also pivotal in bringing the Chianina breed to Lea County. Ed was a member of the New Mexico Angus Association. In 2018, Ed and Frances were recipients of the Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame Outstanding Ranchers Award.
Ed was so dedicated to Lea County, that he served 25 years on the Lea County Fair Board as a member and chairman. Ed truly believed in the value of 4-H and FFA programs, so along with Frances began their involvement as organizational leaders for the Monument 4-H.There, they dedicated 37 years. During this tenure, they were instrumental in expanding the Monument 4-H chapter to the largest at that time with 50 members and because of their impact on the youth development, they were honored together in 2003 by being inducted into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame. In 2018, Ed and Frances were honored by being one of the Lea County Fair & Rodeo dedication honorees.
Ed looked forward every year to the Fair and Rodeo. Ed held box seats at the rodeo for 25+ years & here is where he enjoyed catching up with lifelong friends. But he was most passionate about the Jr Livestock Shows. His greatest joy was watching his grandchildren, Kendra, Zac & Kaleb show their show steers and his great-grandson Tripp show his horses. One year Ed raised the Grand Champion Steer. Because of Ed’s continued dedication to the youth and his mission to support positive youth development, he alongside Frances, was instrumental in strengthening the Sale of Champions, knowing the importance of rewarding youth for their hard work and accomplishments by buying their livestock projects, not only in Lea County, but New Mexico State Fair and Eastern NM State Fair.
Ed’s love for ranching and his cattle herd will be carried on in his memory by his loving wife, son Kyle and dedicated ranch hand Wes Bowers.
The family would like to thank the Lea County Fair & Rodeo Board for honoring Ed’s memory at the 2022 Lea County Fair & Rodeo that Ed was so dedicated to.