Edith Geraldine Johnston
November 10, 1931 – December 12, 2021
Gerry Johnston, of Calgary, AB, passed away peacefully in her home on Sunday, December 12, 2021 at the age of 90 years.
Gerry was born in Winnipeg, MB, on November 10, 1931 and grew up in Transcona, MB. She moved to Jasper, AB, in 1954 with her husband Lawrence “Fin” Johnston and infant son Gordon, finally settling in Calgary in 1959. She remained a vital, beloved, and original (as she made sure to clarify without prompting) member of Glendale neighbourhood for the remaining 62 years of her life.
Gerry was an accomplished vocalist and conductor. Having obtained her Singing Solo Performance diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music at the University of Toronto in 1968, and her B.Ed. from the University of Calgary in 1977, she shared her talents and enthusiasm as a music specialist and teacher for the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) at all levels, from kindergarten to Grade 12. She also volunteered organizing and conducting children’s and young adult’s choirs, handbell groups, Orff instrument ensembles, and musicals. In addition, she spent a number of years in the CBE head office as a music consultant, attending schools throughout Calgary to assist teachers with the development of their music curriculums and the teaching of their music programs. Even after retiring from the CBE at the age of 65, she spent more than five years teaching music at private schools in Calgary. She was even the keyboardist in her grandson Quinn’s ‘Linkin Park’ cover band! He was nine, she was seventy-four. She inspired both students and adults alike through her teaching, volunteering and most importantly, her passion. At her core, she believed in the power of music and its ability to touch the lives of young people and empower them.
Throughout the pandemic, Gerry remained at all times upbeat, easy with a laugh and incredibly positive. Her strength was contagious. She took it as her mission to support her family and friends alike, even setting up a CrossWord puzzle group with her friends to make sure they were all “keeping their minds sharp” and checking in with them by phone every day to make sure they were keeping up.
Gerry turned 90 in November and oh what an event that turned out to be! Starting well before the actual day and continuing from early morning to well past her bedtime on the day of, she was showered with flowers, cakes, visits, phone calls and attention, which included 90 roses from the neighbors and her favorite pizza delivered by Don and Kim. Her front room looked like a flower shop! The day finished with a block party hosted by her neighbors on her front lawn, sidewalk and spilling into the street, with many rousing renditions of Happy Birthday and a giant birthday cake. Every day after, she spoke about her birthday and how happy it made her.
She will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her.
“May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sunshine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.”
Those left to cherish Gerry’s memory are her three sons and three daughters-in-law, Gord and Jill, Don and Kim, and Greg and Catriona; her granddaughters, Sierra (Jay), and Kelli (Micheal); grandsons, Jeff (Lindsay), Cory Goetz, and Quinn (Maria); and extended family, Barb McMullen, Brent Holtzman (Darcia), and Brenda Frisk (Erik), and the Three K’s, Kurt, Karla, and Kyle McMullen, as well as a tremendous group of steadfast friends. Gerry is predeceased by her daughter Judith Gail (Judy), sister Lillian, and brother Clarence.
In accordance with Gerry’s wishes, a memorial service will not be held at this time. As an expression of sympathy, donations in Gerry’s memory may be made to MusicBox Children’s Charity at https://musicboxcc.com/donate. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed here.
In living memory of Gerry Johnston, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.