Barbara "Jean" was born in Toronto on August 1, 1930 to parents Walter and Mabel (Jefferson) Pearson. She joined older sisters Joy (1927), Betty (1929), and was later joined by younger sister Nancy (1936). The Pearson family mixed farmed in the Weston area. Jean soon began school at Richview S.S. #4 in Etobicoke Township before attending Islington High School. Unfortunately, her younger sister became seriously ill in the late 40's and died in 1949. Once she finished her schooling Jean began working for a local company, Avro, as a Secretary.
While attending a church social in the late 40's, Jean was introduced to one David "Lloyd" Johnston. Lloyd was working at a farm in the Weston area, and the two hit it off immediately. They were married a short time later at Richview United Church, by Rev. T.D. Jones on May 20, 1950. The newlyweds soon settled on Lot 5, Concession 15 of Brant Township. A year later they moved to Lot 6, Concession 2 of Elderslie where they began their family. Jean and Lloyd soon welcomed sons David (1953), Doug (1957), and Murray (1970). During these years, Jean kept busy caring for and providing for her young family. Before Murray's arrival, she returned to the workforce as a Nurse's Assistant at the Chesley Hospital and later worked at Bruce Packers. Once Murray was in school, she returned to her health care career as a Personal Support Worker. She worked at Brittany Villa for a time period before taking a job opportunity with the Red Cross, supporting patients in their homes. Jean loved this job immensely, working into her 70's before being forced to retire early in 2000. Apparently, Jean was not so happy with this decision but eventually came to peace with it.
In her free time, Jean enjoyed knitting, quilting, needlepoint, and baking. She was a fabulous cook, with her roast beef dinner being a favourite to many. In fact, at the 1976 International Plowing Match in Walkerton, Jean was the head caterer for the Paisley Curling Club tent. In short order, her tent and more specifically, her food became the place to eat at the event. No Sunday was complete without a family meal, prepared with love by Jean. Likewise, Jean was famous for her Christmas baking. She would often start at least a month before Christmas and have endless trays of squares, cookies, and Christmas cakes. She also enjoyed preserving, with jams and pickles being her specialty. Some of her grandchildren referred to her as "mash potato grandma," so that should tell you everything. When not cooking for her family, she loved entertaining extended family and friends. No one ever went hungry at the Johnston residence. Jean enjoyed completing Word Searches and Crosswords. She was an avid gardener, enjoyed going for walks as well as lawn bowling and curling. She and Lloyd competed in a variety of tournaments and bonspiels through the years. They also loved to dance, especially to Crystal Chandelier, attending most of the local dances, and even square danced.
Jean loved spending time at the beach. Gobles Grove for a picnic dinner during the summer months and Sauble Beach were two of her favourites. For several years, Jean and her sisters rented a cabin in Sauble for the family to gather and catch up. Many life-long memories were created during these times together. Lloyd and Jean also owned a trailer, which was located at Woodland Park. As you can tell they always kept busy and truly enjoyed each other's company and getting out together. They did a bit of traveling, going west for a cattlemen's trip, visiting Texas, dipping her toes in the Pacific Ocean, and winning a trip to Sweden... yes, you read that right! Jean was an avid reader, with author Nora Roberts being her favourite. She had a real soft spot for Harlequin Romance novels and often referred to them as her "smutty novels."
Jean and Lloyd sold the farm in the early 80's, but remained in the house. A fire in 1983 forced them to move up the road in 1985, calling the Brant-Elderslie Townline, home. They retired to Chesley in 1991, before moving to Paisley in 2005. It was here where Lloyd became ill and he died in 2007. Sadly, a part of Jean died that day too, as her soulmate and lover left her. Although she put on a strong front, those who knew her well, knew that her health began to decline.
Jean was a warm, caring individual with an infectious smile. She was extremely organized and always made others feel welcome when at her home. Likewise, when asked to help, she found it hard to say "no", often volunteering her time with a variety of causes. Her church was also of great importance to her. In addition to being an active member, she also held the position of caretaker for a time period. Ask the boys about her drive home from church with the bumper hanging off the car, it’s a great story! Stories were also told of Lloyd and Jean’s 25th wedding anniversary and how three pigs from the barn, were released in their bedroom by a few unnamed culprits. Needless to say at least one of these pigs ended up between the upstairs floor and downstairs ceiling… yikes! There were fireworks in the Johnston home that night.
Jean loved her family dearly and was very family-oriented. She worked hard, made sure the boy’s sat up straight, and didn’t swear… right boys? However, I am told that Jean wasn’t perfect either as her two go-to phrases usually included “What in the Sam hell…” or “O shit…”
In 2007, Jean returned to Chesley were she remained until 2011. It was at this time it was decided that she required a little more care and support whereby she called The Village apartments in Hanover her new home. Sadly, her dementia worsened with time and in 2015 she made her final move to Brucelea Haven. Here she continued to receive love and support throughout her remaining days. Jean passed away on Sunday, June 28, 2020 in her 90th year.
Beloved wife of the late Lloyd Johnston (2007). Jean will be dearly missed by her sons David of R.R. #2 Stratford, Doug (Diahanne) of Teeswater, and Murray (Lori) of Tara. Loving grandmother of Stephanie (Matt), Melissa (Chris), Alan (Amanda) Carla, Pieter (Chelsy), Aidan, and great-grandmother of Ainsley, Cassidy, Hudson, and Nixon. Dear sister of Betty (Bernard) Ball of Owen Sound. She was predeceased by her daughter-in-law Alison Johnston, sisters Joy Goddart, Nancy Pearson, and her parents Walter and Mabel (Jefferson) Pearson.
Private services will be held with inurnment to follow in Douglas Hill Cemetery.
Memorial donations to the Alzheimer Society would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.Send to friend