Dr. Nor­man John­ston

The Ambler Gazette - - OBITUARIES -

Dr. Nor­man John­ston, 91, Ar­ca­dia rniver­sity pro­fes­sor, au­thor, scholar, good friend to many students and col­leagues and con­sid­ered by many to be the fore­most in­ter­na­tional ex­pert on the his­tory of prison ar­chi­tec­ture, died at the Art­man Lutheran Home in Ambler on Oct. 6, 2012, of com­pli­ca­tions from a se­ries of strokes.

Dr. John­ston was the au­thor or ed­i­tor of eight books and nu­mer­ous ar­ti­cles on crim­i­nal jus­tice and on prison ar­chi­tec­ture, both in the rnited States and abroad, and he ap­peared in sev­eral tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­taries fo­cus­ing on those sub­jects. Dr. John­ston re­searched the his­tory of pu­n­ish­ment and im­pris­on­ment and the evo­lu­tion of prison ar­chi­tec­ture world­wide. These in­ter­ests led to his long­time as­so­ci­a­tion and board ser­vice with the Penn­syl­va­nia Prison So­ci­ety and the Eastern State Pen­i­ten­tiary His­toric Site, the lat­ter of which he was in­stru­men­tal in de­vel­op­ing.

Born in Mar­ion, Mich., in 1921, Dr. John­ston was the only child of the late Henry Dean John­ston and Lila Madi­son. He did his un­der­grad­u­ate work at Cen­tral Michi­gan Col­lege, re­ceiv­ing the B.A. (summa cum laude) in ab­sen­tia, as he had en­listed in the Army Air Corps in 1943 be­fore WKH RI­fiFLDO FROOHJH FRP­mence­ment. Af­ter World War II, he en­tered grad­u­ate school at the rniver­sity of Chicago and com­pleted his M.A. with hon­ors.

Dr. John­ston be­gan his pro­fes­sional ca­reer work­ing in a state prison in Illi­nois for three years and then en­tered the Ph.D. pro­gram in so­ci­ol­ogy at the rniver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, where he was given an as­sist­ant­ship and be­gan teach­ing in 1952. He com­pleted the Ph.D. in 1958, and his dis­ser­ta­tion was pub­lished as “The Hu­man Cage.”

Dr. John­ston sub­se­quently stud­ied abroad on a Ful­bright Award. In 1962 he was hired at Beaver Col­lege (now Ar­ca­dia rniver­sity) as an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor and Chair­man of the So­ci­ol­ogy Depart­ment, where he spent his aca­demic ca­reer. He was con­sid­ered an out­stand­ing teacher/scholar and was dearly loved by many students for whom he was a teacher, as well as a men­tor and a friend. Soon pro­moted to full pro­fes­sor, he con­tin­ued to teach full-time un­til 1992, af­ter which, as pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus, he taught part-time while pur­su­ing his schol­arly work for an­other two decades. In his later years, KH EHFDPH D EHORvHG fiJuUH on cam­pus and ap­peared to be much like a “Mr. Chips” at the univer­sity.

A memo­rial cel­e­bra­tion for Dr. John­ston will be held on Nov. 18, 2012, at 12 noon in the Cas­tle at Ar­ca­dia rniver­sity, Glen­side.

Dr. John­ston is sur­vived by his cousins from Michi­gan, and the fam­ily has asked that con­tri­bu­tions be made to Ar­ca­dia rniver­sity, rniver­sity Ad­vance­ment, 450 S. Eas­ton Road, Glen­side, PA 19038 for a memo­rial in both his honor and his mem­ory.

Ar­range­ments were by Baron Row­land Funeral Home in Abing­ton.

Dr. Nor­man John­ston

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