The community of Revelstoke is reeling after news of David Johnson’s death on Sunday.
“It was very sudden and very shocking,” said Cathleen Busch, a Deacon at St. Peter’s Anglican Church where Johnson was a very active member. “We feel so bad for Edna Mae and the family to have to deal with that. We’re reeling from it ourselves here.”
Johnson, 67, was heavily involved in the Revelstoke community. He and his wife Edna Mae owned the Minto Manor where they hosted many performances; he was the chairman of the Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation and he was president of the Revelstoke Heritage Railway Society.
“It’s a tremendous loss and as far as we’re concerned here, we’ve lost a man who had a great deal of dedication and a great deal of vision,” said Jennifer Dunkerson, the executive director of the Revelstoke Railway Museum. “He was a pillar for us, somebody who was very dedicated to this place and put his all into it. He’ll be very greatly missed.”
Busch said she was getting ready for church on Sunday morning when the call came that Johnson collapsed and was being tended to by paramedics. Johnson was scheduled to lead the service that day.
“He was very reverant when he was leading a service,” Busch said. “He was definitely a role model. If we could all strive to be half as good as David, we’d be doing well.”
David and Edna Mae Johnson moved to Revelstoke nine years ago following his retirement from Vanier College in Montreal. He started there as a chemistry teacher and eventually became the Academic Dean of the college in 1993. He retired in 2000.
“His career at Vanier was long and fruitful and he shepherded through many changes ranging from moves and resulting re-organizations to new pedagogy and the integration of information technology,” wrote Gilbert Héroux, Director General of the college, in a statement. “His passing is a loss to us all.”
Johnson was invariably described as very intelligent. Mayor David Raven said he was “a real gentleman and a big player in the community.”
“I enjoyed every minute I was with him,” he said. “I found him to be a very classy gentleman. He had an obvious intellect and he was somebody I enjoyed listening to.”
Busch said Edna Mae was in shock over his sudden passing.
“She told me she was trying to make reason of it, trying to understand why this happened,” she said. “We’ll have to do some recovering ourselves.”
Johnson’s funeral will be at St. Peter’s Anglican Church on Friday, Mar. 23, at 2 p.m.