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JOHNSTON, Dorothy Ferne (nee Lawson)

September 20, 1941 – January 7, 2013

It is with great sadness that the Johnston family announces the passing of Dorothy Ferne Johnston on Monday, January 7, 2013 in Calgary. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease less than three years ago, Dorothy’s decline was very rapid and the onset of the disease, aggressive.

The eldest of three children, Dorothy was born to Jonathan and Muriel Lawson in Bass River, NB, Sept. 20, 1941. She grew up in Bass River, NB, attended middle and high school in Moncton and completed a nursing degree at the Moncton Hospital School of Nursing (graduating class of 1962). Dorothy is predeceased by her husband, James Donald Johnston. Following her graduation from nursing school, Dorothy and Don were married and relocated to Germany where Don was posted with the Canadian Forces. It was there that they started a family with the birth of their eldest son, Christopher. Upon returning to Canada, Don was stationed in Halifax where they welcomed Jeremy and later Elizabeth while living in Moncton. In 1980, Don and Dorothy relocated to Calgary permanently although trips ‘back home‘ to New Brunswick were frequent and made for wonderful memories for the whole family.

In Calgary, Dorothy worked as a nurse at the Glenmore Auxiliary and Foothills Hospital (Unit 111) until her retirement in the late 80‘s. Dorothy was conscientious, hard-working and kind and felt a strong sense of duty to others. She volunteered with numerous organizations throughout the years, including but not limited to Meals on Wheels, the Calgary Horticultural Society and various outreach programs through Woodcliff United Church. Dorothy enjoyed a number of activities including gardening, hiking, birdwatching, cross-country skiing, speed skating and reading. She was happiest spending time with Don and their children.

The Johnston and Lawson families would like to acknowledge the support of family members and a few special friends who helped us through the challenges faced over the past few years. Your support was enormously helpful and appreciated. Dorothy is survived by her sons Christopher (Eleise) of Edmonton; Jeremy of Edmonton; daughter, Elizabeth (Lorenzo) Fontana of Calgary; grandchildren Emma, Hannah, Luca and Matteo; sister Barbara (Ken) of Riverview, NB and brother George of Vancouver. Dorothy was predeceased by her mother, Muriel and her father, Jonathan. Our family would like to thank the staff of the Beverly Centre Glenmore for their compassion and kindness.

A Memorial Service will be held at Woodcliff United Church (5010 Spruce Drive S.W., Calgary) on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Society of Calgary.

In living memory of Dorothy Johnston a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Ross & Sally Lawson :

    •Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you during this tragic time

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  2. Ron MacIsaac Harcourt NB :

    It was with great sadness I heard of Dorothy passing from Charles & Ruth/Don Lawson. I last spoke with your Mother at her parents funerals. I have very special memories from one summer in our teen years at Bass River. Taking Dorothy, the”most beautiful” girl in Kent Co. to dances in Mundleville. I extend my condolences to her children.
    Also to George, I will be in touch >
    Regards Ron

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  3. Hooda Fares Hassen :

    Elizabeth and the Johnston Family: I was so sorry to hear of your loss. May she rest in peace. Our family will be thinking of yours at this incredibly difficult time.

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  4. Brian and Dorit Dopson, Surrey BC :

    We only knew Dorothy for the 7 1/2 years that Jonathan and Stephanie have been married but remember her beautiful smile & gentle manner from our first meeting at their wedding. Our condolences to all especially her children and grandchildren, brother George and sister Barb.

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  5. Anne & Ken Marchand :

    Dear Liz and Family, It was with great sadness that we received the news of your Mother’s passing. Dorothy was always such a lady and a kind and thoughtful neighbour on the street we shared with your family for so many years.
    May your happy memories of both your parents sustain you during this time of loss.
    With our deepest sympathy to you all.
    Anne & Ken.

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  6. I was sorry to hear of the passing of Dorothy. I shared many great hikes with her.

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  7. William/Laurie Csokonay :

    Family of Dorothy –
    We are so sorry for your loss of your mother, not so long after losing your dad. We remember them both fondly, and our condolences to you all at this time. Was not so long ago I remember having a long conversation with your mother about our times in the Maritimes and in the UK. We will miss them both,
    Bill and Laurie Csokonay

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  8. Bernard Bradford :

    Condolences to all the Johnston family on this sad occasion.

    Sheila and Bernard Bradford

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  9. Dianne and Ralph Johnston :

    We will miss Dorothy as we miss Don. They were the strength of our families and always a pleasure to be around. This brings great sorrow to us but always great memories.
    May Dorothy rest in peace.
    Ralph and Dianne

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  10. Lois Parks Harlow :

    To the family of Dorothy Johnston, Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother. I didn’t know her after we grew up, but I remember her as a child. I am her oldest cousin, being ten years her senior. I spent many happy days at uncle Jonathan and aunt Muriel’s when I was a child. My sympathy goes out to all of you and being a nurse myself, I’m sure she is in a better place. God Bless, sincerely, Lois

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  11. Al Jenik & Marg Trawick :

    We were so pleased to get to know Dorothy as our neighbour in Discovery Woods Villas.We will remember her for her gentle,kind, & giving nature. We are saddened by her passing.

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  12. Gloria Wilkinson :

    Rocky View Ladies will miss Dorothy – with her great smile and generosity of spirit to all of us over the years.
    Our deepest sympathy.

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  13. Cheryl Horrey :

    Elizabeth – I was very saddened to read the tribute to your mother in the paper. I knew she had been ill for some time. She was one of my first “Brownie moms” when I became leader of the unit at the Church of the Good Shepherd. She was always very supportive of the programs and activities. She must have been a wonderful mother as you were one of my favourite Brownies. More recently, your mother and I met again at the Inn From the Cold program at Woodcliff. She was always a devoted volunteer. I send you and your family my sincere condolences. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Cheryl Horrey (Brown Owl)

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