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Cory Johnston

Cory Johnston

Sunday, February 25th, 1973 - Tuesday, February 25th, 2020
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Obituary

Dr. Waldo Cory Melrose Johnston III died in a backcountry skiing accident after summiting Mt. Hood on February 25th, 2020, on his 47th birthday.

Born in 1973, Cory grew up in the mountains of Colorado where he first developed his love of the outdoors along with his parents, Waldo and Candy, and his older sister, Crickett. It was amongst these mantled peaks that he first learned to ski.

His family moved to North Carolina in 1980 where he developed a passion for other activities: hockey with his dad, tennis with his sister, viola with his mom. While a student at Durham Academy, he was elected President of the Senior Class, constructed an epic volcano for the Senior Prom with his best friend Javier, became North Carolina’s first All American lacrosse player, and, despite some aversion for practicing for the SATs, earned his acceptance to Yale where he played varsity lacrosse and squeaked across the finish line in 1995 with a degree in American Studies.

Following graduation, Cory heeded the call of the West where he engaged in a assortment of experiments including waiting tables in San Francisco, filming documentaries in Whistler, selling climbing gear at REI in Salt Lake City, and painting houses. He and his friend Johnny loved to explore the backcountry of the Wasatch. Eventually, he joined the ski patrol at Brighton where everything changed one night when he and his colleagues tried to save the life of a young skier who had sustained a mortal injury. He was profoundly impressed by the efficiency of the nurse as she intubated the patient. As Cory watched the helicopter transport the patient off the slope, he realized he wanted to be there on the other end of the helicopter ride, to take care of that skier when she arrived at the hospital. The very next day he called his parents to say that he was going back to school to become a doctor.

Discovering an intense focus that his friends and family had never seen, Cory completed premed courses in Utah, and was accepted to medical school at the University of Pittsburgh. There he connected with his lifelong friends Kia, Jordan, Toby, Jim, and Thomas.

Cory returned to Salt Lake City for his six-year general surgery residency at the University of Utah, where he spent an extra year specializing in rural general surgery. He won the residency wide teaching award and was considered one of the best residents they ever had, but was also humble and humorous and true to himself; kind, patient, and unflappable. He again formed a close group of friends “The Honey Badgers” with whom he enjoyed long days out on the mountains.

Cory then came to Oregon in 2012 for a two-year hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery fellowship at the Providence Portland Cancer Center. Here he was mentored by Drs. Paul Hansen, Ronald Wolf, and Chet Hammill, as well as his future wife, Pippa Newell. Pippa and Cory’s first date was at the start of Cory’s second year of fellowship. It was not intended to be a date; but they had spent an intense day together in the operating room, and it was a balmy Midsummer Night with a full moon, and it seemed a shame not to enjoy it together.

Cory and Pippa moved to Hood River in 2014, where Cory started his first and only job as an MD, as a General Surgeon at the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital. Here he earned the trust, love, and respect of his colleagues and the Hood River community through his passion for the welfare of his patients and his dedication to his practice.

Cory found immeasurable happiness with Pippa, raising their sons Rocky and Bode. He was so proud of his boys. He loved everything about them. He loved singing funny songs with them, loved running alongside them as they learned to ride bikes. He marveled as they learned anything new. The family’s last ski trip, he was so proud of Bode making his first turns and of Rocky zipping through the trees. There was nothing that made him happier than his family.

As he had done as a young man, Cory found the wilderness a source of wonder and immense joy. As mountains shaped much of Cory’s life, they also, in a way understood by only God and the cosmos, took it away.

Cory, we love you. Thank you for the many epic turns.

Services to honor Cory’s life and mourn his passing are planned as follows;

A time to visit with family is planned for 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Friday, March 6th, 2020 at Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations) 1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031.

A Natural Burial and Committal Ceremony is planned for 3:00 P.M., Saturday, March 7th, 2020 at The Great River Natural Cemetery of Mosier, Oregon (45.649166, -121.364981).

A Memorial Service will be at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, March 8th, 2020 at Columbia Gorge Hotel (4000 Westcliff Dr, Hood River, OR 97031).

Countless people have reached out to ask what they can do to support Pippa and the Johnston/Newell Family. Education is a high priority for the family. A 529 Education Fund for Rocky & Bode has been set up and donations can be made through the attached link:
https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-cory-johnston-family-fund

Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, March 6th, 2020 | 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    When
    Friday, March 6th, 2020 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    Location
    Anderson's Tribute Center
    Address
    1401 Belmont Ave.
    HOOD RIVER, OR
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Quiet Farewell with closed casket is planned for 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M., Friday, March 6th, 2020 Anderson's Tribute Center (1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031).
  • Service

    Sunday, March 8th, 2020 | 2:00pm
    When
    Sunday, March 8th, 2020 2:00pm
    Location
    Columbia Gorge Hotel
    Address
    4000 Westcliff Drive
    HOOD RIVER, OR
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Services to honor Cory’s life… Quiet Farewell with closed casket is planned for 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M., Friday, March 6th, 2020 Anderson's Tribute Center (1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031). Burial is planned for 3:00 P.M., Saturday, March 7th at the Great River Natural Cemetery of Mosier, Oregon. This is a beautiful sanctuary where dogs, children, outdoor enthusiasts are all welcome. Please be prepared for rocky terrain and Gorge weather. (45.649166, -121.364981 – most vehicles can access or you can park on Dry Creek Road and walk up to grave). Memorial Service will be at 2:00 P.M., Sunday, March 8th, 2020 at the Columbia Gorge Hotel Ballroom (4000 Westcliff Dr, Hood River, Oregon 97031).
  • Interment

    Location
    Great River Natural Cemetery
    Address
    MOSIER, OR 97040
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Burial is planned for 3:00 P.M., Saturday, March 7th at the Great River Natural Burials of Mosier, Oregon. This is a beautiful sanctuary where dogs, children, outdoor enthusiasts are all welcome. Please be prepared for rocky terrain and Gorge weather. (45.649166, -121.364981) ****Please dress appropriately...the terrain may be very muddy and parking will be quite a ways away from Cory's final resting place. Directions: - Exit 69 off I 84 East - Turn Right onto US 30 toward Mosier - Go 0.3 and turn Right on to Washington, St - Go 300 feet and turn Left onto Third Ave - Third will turn into State Road - Turn right onto Carrol - Follow exactly 2.7 miles up when road turns to gravel -See small 4 car parking area on Left. Once that is full, parking will have to be along Carrol

Condolences

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Tammy Georgi

Posted at 01:29am
To Cory's family,
Today many of us learned about Cory's passing here at the University of Utah where he spent a lot of time learning how to care for others. I worked many hours with Cory in the SICU along with all the other RNs as he cared endlessly for patients, yet always had a joke and smile to share along with teasing even the attending! He was an amazing surgeon. We are so sorry for your lose for his boys and his wife. Thanks for sharing him with his Utah family! Love Tammy Georgi RN- SICU
CS

Chris Sampson

Posted at 12:19am
Cory became my mentor when I was a premedical student at the University of Utah. His inclusion and guidance allowed me to become a physician. I am forever grateful for his friendship. On top of this, he was a great guy. I will miss his energy. My prayers to all of you.

Chris Sampson

Danielle Paterson

Posted at 11:08am
My heart goes out to everyone who knew and loved Cory! I remember a great conversation I had with Cory. He gave me great advise for a fun trip to Hawaii. He was charismatic, kind and outgoing! I will never forget him ♥️
SW

Sandra Wenzel

Posted at 04:32pm
Pippa & Family, My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers. My wish is for you all to have strength and peace throughout this difficult time. He will be missed. RIP Dr. Jonston
Sandy Wenzel- PPMC
HS

Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 03:20pm
Pippa, Im so very sorry. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you all strength and peace during this time. (Hugs) Sandy Wenzel - PPMC
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