Carol Jean Johnston (nee Querney)
1931 - 2021
Carol Jean Johnston (nee Querney) passed quietly on Saturday 19 June 2021, at home surrounded by her children.
Daughter of Ernest William Truefitt Querney and Marjorie May Querney (nee Rea), sister to Norma, Alan and Gail, loving wife to Bud (C.B.) Johnston (Pre-deceased), wonderful mother to David (Martha Douglas), Jeffrey (Kelley Dunn), Craig (Lois Currie), Laura (John Lyons) and Nancy (Jonathan Carson), Grandmother to 14 big ones and Great-Grandmother to 9 little ones.
Carol was a pillar of the London Community having founded Canada’s first Children’s Museum and served on multiple Community Foundations and Boards providing opportunities, education and support to help children learn and grow.
She loved her family, her dog Pepe, the Museum and the London Community.
We ALL love her back!
Her message to us and to the world:
Carol’s Last Story
Well, I guess my adventures in this world are finished…for now.
I was born Carol Jean Querney on August 17, 1931, in Toronto, the third child of Marjorie and Ernest Querney. After a family move to Sudbury, I attended Alexander Public School and Sudbury High School. I loved school and sports and my friends, Marjorie, Sally, Helen and more.
My 3 siblings Norma Halbert, Alan Querney and Gail Buckley were great friends and I loved them dearly. They were marvelous to travel with and always up for a bridge game and a good laugh. Gail and I especially, had many adventures travelling together through Ontario, British Columbia, and Europe. Sadly, Gail and Alan have both died.
After High School it was off for training to be a nurse at Victoria Hospital in London Ontario. I followed the love of my heart, Bud Johnston who would attend Western, and what is now The Ivey School of Business, where he would make his career eventually becoming Dean. We married August 22, 1953 and while Bud finished his HBA I took Public Health Nursing at Western. Bud’s parents, Bea and Bernie, played a big role in the life of our family for which I was always grateful.
After experiences in Toronto where I was a Public Health Nurse, then Timmins, and St. Thomas we moved back to London so Bud could complete his MBA at Western. The children began to arrive, David, Jeffrey, Craig, Laura, and Nancy, each so welcome and so loved.
Along the way we had adventures in Switzerland, Italy, France, Greece, the Philippines, India, and Africa, and the children went to school in Lausanne for a year. Here, we had our dear au-pair Marie-Therese Darioli from Zermatt who taught me that famous saying ‘Oh but you must’, especially valuable when managing children and good ideas.
Then back to London and other experiences. Volunteer work was my game…Home and School, teaching Sunday school, autistic children at CPRI and then going to school myself, the London Teacher’s College as it was then called. After a visit with our dear friends Eleanor and John Graham in Boston and a visit to the Children’s Museum there, my path became clear! My Dream!!
With the help of all my family and friends, the germ of an idea of a children’s museum for London was born and off we went. Bless the Wintario Grant and their sensitive staff for their faith in people with a purpose. Jamie Bell at The Ontario Science Centre was our mentor and instigated workshops and exhibits that moved us along our journey. In 1981 Riverview School was purchased from the London Board of Education and the London Children’s Museum had a home at last.
London Foundations of the Ivey and Lawson Family were our angels. And The City of London followed. The Community was always our greatest supporter. There are too many people who helped tremendously along the way to name, but Ann Gordon and Shelly Siskind were standouts! Our Children’s Museum is so beholden to the numerous women and men who helped us find ‘our voice’.
I must mention the absolute pleasure of working with so many young people through the years. The staff brought with them good ideas, energy, dedication, and humour, all vital to making things right at the Children’s Museum. Of course, it was the many grants and donations that enabled us to do it all. Canada’s Foundations, Governments and our Community have always been our backbone.
Now, the new plan is afoot. The London Children’s Museum, with super special Amanda Conlon at the helm, will be moving to 100 Kellogg Place in London. With such interesting spaces and thoughtful exhibits, I am sure it will be a resounding success! Hallelujah and Bon Voyage!
I spent several years on the Board of The Women’s Christian Association where a group of very dedicated women ran McCormick Home and Parkwood Hospital. This was where I honed my skills on Board Policies and Procedures and met many special people. My other Board experiences with Childreach, the Children’s Festival, the Children’s Aid Society, Madam Vanier Children’s Services and The London Community Foundation were also excellent opportunities to meet good people, to learn more and share ideas that could be productive for the community.
I left the Museum, for a short while in 1991, to tour the world with Bud as he taught in Switzerland, Africa, Japan and Singapore. When we came back to London, I returned to the Museum Board and began another volunteer job helping the London Children’s Museum however I could.
As I was pursuing My Dream, I was fortunate to receive recognition, first from the City of London as Citizen of the Year in 1982, the Ontario Jubilee 1983. In 1985 I was privileged to receive the Order of Canada from Jean Sauve. What a wonderful honour this was for me and my family!
Another adventure was my Cipher Club, an investment club of extraordinary women who shared investment opportunities and friendship with each other and even when the economy ‘went south’ managed to make at least a two figured gain.
The best part of my life was always my children, my raison d’etre!
• 5 wonderful kids with partners have kept me proud, busy, and involved with the many interesting stages of their lives
• 14 amazing Grandchildren took up the task; and
• 9 priceless Great-Grandchildren including twins! The piece de resistance!!
How the world turns and renews itself!
My home has always been ‘my castle’ which often housed dogs, cats, birds, mice, lizards and even two clever little pet rats. I am definitely a dog person! Gardening became another passion that regularly brought joy, as well as dirty hands and an aching back.
I am so grateful to my family and so many others for the wonderful adventures of my life. Now, was I lucky or what!
The family will hold a private ceremony. A Celebration of Life will be held at the London Children’s Museum at a future date. Arrangements in care of Harris Funeral Home, London.
In lieu of flowers, Carol continues to welcome donations to the London Children’s Museum: www.londonchildrensmuseum.ca
We love you Carol/Mom/Grandma/Great-Grandma!
Sleep in peace.
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