Dr. William N. Roston, who was affectionately known as Doc Roston, 83, of Forsyth Missouri, died December 7, 2019. He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family. Doc lived a full and wonderful life with numerous accomplishments. He celebrated 57 years of love and devotion to his wife, Judy, and was greatly adored by his four children. Dedication and passion are two words which describe everything this great man touched, from serving the community with his medical practice to his numerous interests, sports, and hobbies.
Doc was an educator at heart and excelled in his professional life. He attended Ashland College in Ohio where he majored in education and became a high school biology teacher for two years. He graduated from Kansas City College of Osteopathy and Surgery where he was the senior class President and received the Outstanding Senior Award for the class of 1966. After completing his internship in Erie, PA, he and Judy moved to Forsyth, where he remained in his family medical practice for over 42 years. He continued to support the local community by working with the Theodosia Medical Clinic for the past 8 years.
Doc was always expanding his knowledge. Learning Scuba lead to his successful underwater photography career where he photographed hundreds of species of North American freshwater fish and later mussels. His natural talent and countless hours of lying still with his underwater camera in streams and creeks came with rewards. His pictures have been in more than fifty different publications. The famous Jacques Cousteau personally called upon Doc to discuss his pictures. In 1982, his picture of a wide mouth bass eating a frog won a worldwide Nikon photo contest. But Doc’s true motivation was to capture the unique beauty and life which happens in our freshwater creeks and streams and share it with others. He gave countless presentations to help educate the public and bring awareness to the importance of keeping our environment clean. In his honor, the path running from Powersite Dam to Shadowrock park was named “Dr. William Roston’s Nature Trail.”
Doc was an avid sportsman. In his senior year in high school, they won the state champions in baseball. He played football for Ashland College and coached football during his time as a high school teacher. Along with friends, he helped to build the Sports Center in Forsyth where organized sports like basketball, tennis, and volleyball were offered to the community. He was a huge Buckeye fan and watching Ohio State Football gave him much enjoyment his entire life.
Doc is known for his daredevil antics and more than once found himself in dangerous situations. Doc had hobbies like hang gliding and flying his ultralight airplane over Taney County. Without Judy knowing, he would take his small children up in the ultralight! He was shot at in Cuban waters and was followed by an armed guard around the clock when he was stuck in a hotel with Castro. He's been held at gunpoint by a patient while making a physician house call. While flying in a small plane in Alaska, it had to make a crash landing in a cranberry bog. It is a wonder how Judy could sleep while Doc was away on an adventure.
In the late 80’s, Doc began landscaping gardens at his family’s Ozark property abound with the natural beauty. Many fun memories were made here, especially with his 4th of July picnics. These gatherings were filled with old fashioned good times like playing softball and volleyball, croquet, muddy tug of war, and eating BBQ. Doc’s fireworks were outrageous, loud, and set off possibly too close to the spectators. It was in these gardens where he discovered the Japanese hosta plant. He purchased his next property at Honey Branch Cave in 1993 where he included over 900 different varieties of hosta in the landscaping. The Garden of Dreams continued to host 4th of July celebrations, weddings, and garden events which included a regional Hosta Convention.
Doc Roston became involved with the Springfield Botanical Center, previously known as Close Memorial Park. He designed and built multiple gardens here. He was most proud of the Bill Roston Native Butterfly House which has had over 40,000 visitors.
Doc was a baptized member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and was most recently attending their branch in Branson East. Doc Roston had the love of God in his heart and recognized that the accomplishments in his life came from this higher power. He especially took comfort in Thessalonians 4:16,17, 18, which reads “For the lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
William was born in Gallion, Ohio in 1936 to Elsie Irene and Alfred L. Roston and was the youngest of nine children. He was preceded in death by his siblings Russell, Kenny, Wayne, Ester, Virginia, Floyd, Daryl and Alfreda.
William is survived by his wife Judy of Forsyth, daughter Christy of San Clemente Ca, daughter Missy and her children Lydia and Vincent of Forsyth, daughter Stephanie and her husband Vijay and their children Avani and Nayan, of Mission Viejo Ca, and son Brian of Forsyth. Also many nieces and nephews including local residents Ramona Blair and Steve Roston .
Christian Action Ministries (CAM)
10726 State Highway 76, Forsyth MO 65653
Friends of the Garden
2400 S. Scenic Avenue, Springfield MO 65807