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January 12, 1947 - December 20, 2023

In Loving Memory ~

We are deeply saddened to announce the death of our father, husband, brother, cousin, and uncle, William (Bill) Johnston, who passed away from a sudden illness in Kelowna on December 20, 2023, at the age of 76.

At the time of his death, Bill was residing in Silverton, B.C., a town and community that was very special to him for most of his life.

Bill was the first child born to William and Eleanor Johnston on January 12, 1947, in Port Alberni, B.C. When the family moved to Nelson, Bill's lifelong love of the Kootenays began. He left high school to join the Air Force followed by a variety of jobs -- surveying for BC Highways, logging, and learning to build remarkable log homes.

Bill met Joan Stewart in 1975. They married in 1978 and he adopted her daughter Angie soon after. The bond between father and daughter was instant, deep, and lifelong. Although Bill and Joan separated, they maintained a close, committed relationship.

Bill found his true calling in his thirties when he decided to become an Elementary School Teacher. A natural-born educator, Bill was known in the Arrow Lakes School District for his integration of outdoor education into the classroom. Past students talked so much about his forest walks, cross-country skiing, camping and canoe trips that incoming students would fight to be in his classroom.

Bill worked hard to connect with each student and took pride in working with students who had not enjoyed school previously. He helped them find their way in their education. Mr. J saw each of his students as important individuals and always made sure they knew that they had a voice that mattered.

Bill lived many years in Rosebery outside of New Denver, enjoying a close-knit community of very dear friends. He was especially proud of helping to establish the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre, a place he held dear to his heart.

In retirement, Bill was happiest outdoors, hiking "The Grind" and Idaho Peak or cross-country skiing the Sandon trails, powered by one of his special cookies, with his dog Harley, then Rosie by his side.

Bill is survived by his daughter Angie Johnston, his former wife Joan Stewart, brother Don and wife Jeanette and daughter Danielle, brother Gary and wife Jan and their sons Ian and Sean and daughter Sara Webb, brother David and wife Jen and their daughter Brittlyn and son Brock, many cousins and hundreds of friends around the world.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre:

There will be a gathering next summer to celebrate the life of William Russel Johnston.

Date, time and place TBA.

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