Dennis Edward Johnston
Aug. 29, 1940 – Nov. 28, 2023
On Tuesday, November 28, 2023, suffering from Parkinson’s disease and congestive heart failure, Dennis Edward Johnston died peacefully in his home in Cumberland. He was surrounded by his wife, Sharon, his daughter, Sarah, and his son, Murray. He will be cherished for his strength and perseverance, compassion and creativity, and sense of humour that touched all who knew him.
Dennis was born on August 29, 1940 in Winnipeg. He said that during his childhood he had “three different lives:” the “hospital life” as a very young boy confined to his bed with osteomyelitis, his “farm life” as a school-aged boy during the summers, and his “city life.”
Of these, his favourite was definitely summer holidays on his uncle Walter’s farm in Arborg Manitoba, where he fulfilled his childhood dream of driving a big tractor. Dennis is survived by his three sisters: Grace, Pat, and Pam.
In 1963, Dennis married Beth Murray, and they had three children: Murray, Philip, and Sarah. They lived in Surrey, Edmonton, and Castlegar. While in Castlegar, Dennis began his teaching career at Selkirk College and built three houses along the river and a cabin at Fawn Lake. Later, the family moved to the Lower Mainland, where he worked as an instructor and then Department Head in the Communications Department at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He and Beth divorced in 2000.
In February 2008, Dennis married Sharon McInnes. From 2007 to 2018, they lived on Gabriola Island, where they owned the Island Book Shoppe for several years, and where Dennis was actively involved with Save Our Shores and the Gabriola Players.
It was during this time that he became interested in writing short stories and directing plays. Dennis thanks the folks at Gabriola Players for nurturing his creative spirit.
In 2018 Dennis and Sharon moved to Cumberland. He enjoyed riding his electric scooter to The Grind for coffee and conversation most days and spending time with his grandson, Koen, who was by his side in his final hours.