Dr. Ernie Johnson died in his sleep in the early morning of Wednesday, January 12, 2005 at his home in Calgary.
Ernie was born on May 18, 1915 in Smith Falls, ON and graduated in 1938 with honours, several prizes and scholarships from Queen’s University, M.D., C.M., L.M.C.C. He practiced General Medicine and surgery in Elfros and Wadena, SK for many years. It was here that he acquired his first airplane which was used in his work and thus he became affectionately known as “The Flying Doctor”. After a few years he began his post-graduate studies in Ophthalmology (eye diseases and eye surgery) in Vancouver, BC and later in the United States. In 1951, he moved to Calgary where he eventually established the Johnson Eye Clinic. During this time he had five hospital affiliations (Chief of Surgery at the Holy Cross Hospital), eighteen local, provincial, and international medical and surgical associations memberships and four fellowships.
In 1963, Ernie and Edna (his wife and nurse) assisted in the founding of Operation Eyesight Universal – teaching, performing operations, and establishing eye clinics in India and later Bangladesh. In 1973, they resumed his practice in Calgary, intermittently continuing similar volunteer work in Tunisia (with the Good Ship Hope), Nigeria, Nepal and remote regions of Newfoundland. Ernie also surveyed eye problems with Natives of the Northwest Territories and the Arctic on behalf of the C.N.I.B. (Canadian National Institute of the Blind).
Beyond his career in medicine, some of his favourite activities through the years included: hockey, boxing, curling in the Medical League, and of course flying (retired Wing Commander in R.C.A.F, Pilot and Medical Director of Civil Aviation Rescue Emergency Service and member of the Quarter Century Club of Flying). “Dr. J.” enjoyed and was very active in the Alazar Shrine Marching Unit and Patrol Arabs, ultimately serving as Potentate for Alberta in 1975. He also acted as Director on the board of several companies and organizations including the C.N.I.B. and Operation Eyesight.
Among the many awards and honourariums, some of the most cherished were those bestowed upon him by his collogues in various medical associations – the Medal for Distinguished Service presented in 1993 by the Alberta Medical Association; by his beloved Alma Mater, Queen’s University – the first recipient of the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award in 1986, a Chair in Ophthalmology in 2001, and the installation of the “Johnson Dinner” (an annual event); and by his country – Member of the Order of Canada in 1992.
Ernie was respected and loved by his family, patients, colleagues, friends and associates. His many contributions to his community and his great passion for life will be remembered by all.
He is survived by his loving wife and constant companion of sixty-six years, Edna Johnson; his dear sister Joyce Tait; his two children, David and Judy (Ken) Johnson; his six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
A private Family Service took place at Christ Church Elbow Park. A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, February 6, 2005, at the Shrine Centre (5525 – 101 Street N.W, Calgary)at 1:30 p.m.. It is advised that a city map be consulted before leaving for the Centre. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Alberta, 1825 Park Road S.E., Calgary, AB T2G 3Y6 Telephone: (403) 264-5549, www.heartandstroke.ca.
In living memory of Dr. Ernest Johnson, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Telephone: (403) 243-8200.Print This Obituary & Condolences