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Beloved Arabian Horse Community Leader, Hamp Johnston, Passes Away


Hamp Johnston Sr. passed away at home on Father's Day with his family around him. He was 81 years old. Hamp is loved and will be deeply missed by his family and friends.


Hamp was born in Mobile, AL and attended Southern Mississippi University, where he met his wife, Ginny, and made lifelong friends with his Phi Tau group. He got into photography while in college and eventually joined Olan Mills in 1971. He moved his family to Chattanooga, TN in 1972 and he became President and CEO of Olan Mills in 1991. After retiring in 1998, he and Ginny moved back to South Alabama where he followed his entrepreneur spirit and pursued opportunities with Denny Manufacturing and Pet Portraits.


Hamp adored his family, was fun-loving and known for his kindness. He had a big laugh and personality. His love of people enabled him to build friendships and touch the lives of many people around him. He was a gentlemen farmer, boat captain, Alabama football fan and proud member of the Knights of Ecor Rouge (KOER) in Fairhope, Alabama. His passions for being on the water, fishing and Mardi Gras were contagious.


He enjoyed being involved with numerous clubs and organizations to include the Chattanooga Downtown Rotary and several animal rescue and shelter organizations. He held national leadership roles with the the Professional School Photographers of America.


Additionally, Hamp was a great friend to the Arabian horse and a lifelong community leader in the Arabian horse community, generously serving on national boards such as the Arabian Horse Registry of America, Purebred Arabian Trust, Arabian Horse Association, Arabian Jockey Club, and many others. He knew no strangers; his wide smile and palpable warmth melted the hearts of all who knew him.


"Hamp was a sincere, loving, clever strategic thinker that was universally liked by everyone," said Bob Fauls, chairman of the Purebred Arabian Trust. "He enjoyed fishing, helping friends and causes close to his heart. I had the honor of serving with Hamp for over 25 years at the AHRA, PAT, AJC and in the group of volunteers that made the Al-Marah Arabian Horse Galleries a reality. People's efforts in life are often recognized for working hard or being effective...Hamp was both! Love you, Hamp."


He was preceded in death by his parents, Viola and JB Johnston, and is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ginny Johnston, his children, Lara (Tom), Hampton (Jenny) and Matt (Sarah), and his grandchildren, Caten (Joe), Ellie, Frances, and Miles, and brother, James (Lee). The family will celebrate his life and scatter his ashes in the Gulf at a later date.


In lieu of flowers, please remember Hamp with a smile and a toast and consider a gift to the Big Oak Ranch (www.bigoak.org/donate), Trellis Supportive Care (www.trellissupport.org/content/memorial-or-honor-donations) or your local animal shelter.

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