Wanda June (Barnett) JOHNSTON

Johnston, Wanda June (Barnett)

Wanda died on 14 January 2011 in her home in Nanaimo, BC, after a year-long battle with stomach cancer, at the age of 77. In her final days at home she was cared for by her husband, Don, and her sisters, Joy and Glenda.

Wanda is survived by: her loving husband of 51 years, LCol (retd.) Donald J Johnston; sisters; Claire Brown, Joy Morin, Joan Lancaster (Douglas), Glenda Murray, Marva Lagimoniere, and, Brenda McCooeye (Robert); brother, Darryl Barnett; brother-in-law, Douglas Johnston (Joanne); and, many nieces and nephews.

She is predeceased by: her parents, Lawrence and Annie Barnett; sister, Arla Jade (Eddie); and, brother, Wendell; brothers-in-law; Bruce Logan, Joseph Brown, Martin Morin, Charlie Murray, Gaston Lagimoniere, and, Harold Johnston; and, sister-in-law, Shirley Barnett.

Wanda was born in Cumberland, ON, 11 June 1933. Upon finishing her education in Cumberland, ON, Wanda worked in Ottawa before joining the RCAF in 1956. It was while stationed in Camp Borden, ON that she met her husband, Don. They were married in 1959. Wanda retired from the RCAF in 1966 while they were in Portage-la-Prairie, MB, and spent the next many years establishing their homes and network of friends as they moved during his career: Moisie, QC; Tyndall AFB, FL; St. Margarets, NB; North Bay, ON; Ottawa, ON; Colorado Springs, CO; Rome, IT; Halifax, NS; Brussels, BE; and finally, Ottawa, ON, for retirement in 1992. She and her husband moved to Nanaimo in 2002.

Wanda had a rare ability to quickly identify people with whom she could connect and with whom she established life-long friendships no matter where she lived. She was generous of heart, forthright and sincere, and she had boundless energy in all things.

In her last year, Wanda met the symptoms of her cancer with the same frank, matter-of-fact stoicism with which she met any problems in life. But what also emerged was an even greater strength of will, overlaid by a quiet poise and dignity that was palpable. In her characteristic way, Wanda forged her own admirable template for dealing gracefully with her end-of-life illness. She remains, in the hearts of those who knew her well, a very classy lady.

Wanda wished to thank: her surgeon, Dr. Schneidereit, for his care and diligence; the nurses and staff of the NRGH, 3rd floor for their kind attention; Dr. Love, and staff of the Palliative Care Unit; and, the Home Care Unit nursing staff.

There will be no services to mark her passing at her request. Wanda’s remains were cremated 18 January, 2011. Her ashes will be spread at a place and date yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers, donations to a charity of your choice are suggested.