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Cresmount Funeral Home - Fennell Chapel

322 Fennell Ave East, Hamilton, ON

OBITUARY

Russell Bruce Johnston

July 3, 1927October 2, 2019
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With great sadness, the family of Russell (Russ) Johnston announce his peaceful passing at St Peters Hospital, Hamilton, on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in his 93rd year. Devoted husband of the late Florence Johnston (née Trevelyan) for 57 years. Dear father of Rebecca and Derrick Thornborrow and Russell Johnston and Sara Posen. Proud grandfather of Christopher (Anna), Nicholas (Lindsey), Courtney (Nick), and Hannah, great-grandfather of Amy and Eric. Russell is survived by his sister Barbara Shaw, and predeceased by his mother Helen Stewart (née McDiarmid), sister Helen Jaffray, and brother Murray Johnston.

Born above a storefront near Barton and Sherman, Russell was a proud Hamiltonian. As a youth, he was an active member of the Navy Cadets and Chedoke Ski Patrol, fished in Red Hill Creek, swam at Burlington Beach and Municipal (Jimmy Thompson) Pool, and cycled from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie in search of adventure. His education at Delta High was cut short in April 1945 when he lied about his age to join the army; the war ended while he was stationed in Halifax awaiting reassignment to the Pacific. Returning to civilian life, he eventually joined the Hamilton Spectator as a compositor, where he retired in 1989.

Russell met Florence, the love of his life, in 1951; they married two years later on Valentine’s Day. Together they built a home in Ryckman’s Corners where they raised their children, hosted family and friends, and remained active members of the community throughout their lives. Although Florence was confined to a wheelchair after 1967, they remained dedicated to their passions and public service. Together they attended many concerts, plays, festivals, and exhibitions throughout the city. He supported her many volunteer activities with Barton Stone UC, Participation House, and the creation of Glanbrook Home Support, while she supported his terms as a Wentworth School Board Trustee (1960s), Glanbrook councillor (1980s), and member of the Hamilton Conservation Authority (1980s). Together, they also travelled extensively across Canada, the United States, Mexico, Great Britain, and the Caribbean. We especially remember their wine and cheese parties, annual Grey Cup parties, infamous dinners with the Spectator Gang (including the time the picnic table caught fire), and their travels in Scotland and Barbados.

In retirement, Russell devoted himself to the Bolingbroke reconstruction at the Canadian Warplane Heritage. He kept up with his life-long hobbies: his garden filled with too many zucchini, too few tomatoes, and over thirty trees (all of which he could recall distinctly), as well as his barbecue, his books, his scotch, his futile attempts to keep squirrels out of the bird feeder, and his opinions on politics (all politics!).

Family, friends, neighbours, and fellow volunteers, past and present: there are so many people who have touched our family and were an important part of Russell’s life, and who will always be remembered. To all of you, we extend a heartfelt thank you.

A funeral service will be held at Cresmount Funeral Home at 322 Fennel Avenue East, Hamilton, on Friday 11 October. Visitation will take place at 10:00 am and a memorial service will begin at 11:00 am. Interment will follow at Mount Hamilton Cemetery, 260 Rymal Road East, Hamilton. All family and friends are welcome to join the family at a luncheon reception at 1:00 pm afterwards.

In lieu of flowers, please honour Russell’s memory with donations to Glanbrook Community Services, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Bolingbroke project, the Royal Botanical Gardens, or a charity of your choice.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.cresmountfennellchapel.com for the Johnston family.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, October 11, 2019
  • Funeral Service Friday, October 11, 2019

Memories

Russell Bruce Johnston

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Janette & Tom Thompson

October 4, 2019

We are so sorry to hear of the passing of your Dad, Grandpa and Great Grandpa. We didn't know him well but I (Janette) will always remember sitting with Mr. Johnston at R&D's trailer – so enjoying the tales he told. It was a lovely visit. Such an interesting and fun man. He will be missed.

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