Fred Johnston
Fred Johnston
On June 22, 2002 Fred Johnston, Cedar Meadow's treasurer, shareholder, and most importantly, our good friend died after a battle with cancer. Fred was a friend first, and a partner second. Without his friendship Cedar Meadow may never have seen the light of day, and certainly without him we probably would never have gotten where we are today. Fred was a very generous guy. There are several small businesses, I can count at least four, that got their start because of Fred, because he lent his friendship, his financial expertise, and his own capital.

I knew Fred for 23 years and we would talk tough to each other once a year, the day of the annual Michigan - Ohio State football game. To the best of my recollection each year we bet one beer, even up on the outcome of the game. I'll be darned if I can remember the last time either of us paid off. Fred attended and graduated Ohio State University where he got his accounting degree. He later became a CPA. Before that he served in the U.S. Army in the military police and actually witnessed at least one nuclear weapons test while on active duty in New Mexico. He migrated to New York with Sylvia, his wife, and they had two boys Dave and Dan. Fred worked for Arthur Young and was their Director of International Finance until he left to do small businesses.

I met Fred in May or June of 1979 the night I returned from Three Mile Island. I had apparently been on the nightly news though I was unaware of it. As I returned to NYC I was hungry so I stopped into a local restaurant to get something to eat. The guy next to me at the bar where I was eating turned to me and asked if I hadn't just been on the news. I told him I wasn't sure, but it was distinct maybe. If you knew Fred and you know me, that is all it took to start a conversation that I figure lasted the better part of 23 years.

Along the way I saw Fred help start a small accounting firm, reorganize a magazine [Inc.], start three small businesses [a specialty food store, a washing service business and a retail liquor store]. There are more than one of his friends who enjoy a better life because of his personal and professional generosity.

I learned much from Fred. I learned that the right time to do most of the things you think are important is now. I also learned that the things you do also should be of benefit to those around you. It was Teddy Roosevelt, I believe, who said, "Do what you can, where you are, with what you have." That could have been Fred's motto.

Fred truly took pleasure out of seeing good things happen to other people, especially when he had somehow was involved in nudging the final result to be positive. When we won our first Stakes Race with Pacem In Kristie I believe his best thoughts were for John Wames, our trainer, who finally got the recognition for winning a Stakes race in NY. John had spent much of his career to that point training in somewhat obscurity in Pennsylvania. Fred also took a lot of pride in his family, whether it was his sons, or whether he simply adopted you. I will always remember the proud smile he had on his face when he pulled out a newspaper article from the Allentown paper that had just been sent to him. It contained a football score from the high school his son attended with the scoring summary, 21 yard TD pass Decking to D. Johnston. There were more of those to come. Fred was a generous guy, with his time, with his money, and with his love.

I wish everybody who reads this could have a friend like Fred. It wouldn't guarantee you success in business. It would guarantee you were a better person, however.

Paul Giardina

Secret Breeze

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