James Ralph Johnston, died of age related causes on August 18, 2011, at the age of 94. Ralph is survived by his wife Caroline; and former wife Joan; sister Joy; daughters Lynne and Trish; step-children Douglas, Judy, Jay, Nancy; Susan, David and Stephen; grandchildren Allison, Jordan, Courtenay, Simon and Kurt and great-grandchildren Grace, Joy, Addison, Zion and Eden as well as many other extended family members and friends. He was pre-deceased by his sister Doreen, wife Rhoda and daughter Sheila.
Ralph was born on January 30, 1917, and raised in the Invermere valley. His family homesteaded “Comfort Ranch” until 1926, when they moved into Invermere when Henry Ford had made breeding carriage horses unprofitable. Graduating from high school in 1935, Ralph set off to the University of British Columbia where, he graduated from UBC with a degree in Forestry Engineering. He was immediately hired by the B.C. Forest Service.
In 1942, Ralph joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he served in Manitoba, training young navigators for the concerted bombing raids over Germany rather than flying overseas as he had planned.
After his military service, Ralph returned to the B.C. Forest Service rising through the ranks to serve as Assistant District Forester in Kamloops and District Forest Manager in Prince Rupert, Nelson and Kamloops, until retiring in Kamloops after 40 years of service.
A consummate outdoorsman, he delighted in sharing his love of nature and vast knowledge of the natural world with his family. As a result, none of us will ever light a campfire with more than one match or have an artificial Christmas tree and most of us know how to find tiny, wild strawberries and can name several species of conifers.
In his retirement years, Ralph was a square dancing enthusiast. He also enjoyed his many years of Rotary Club fellowship and supported its international mission. A life-long believer, he was a regular attendee of both the Salvation Army and Hills of Peace Lutheran churches.
His family extends heartfelt thanks to all the staff at Berwick for their excellent, expert, and loving care of Ralph in his last year. Ralph’s funeral will be held at Hills of Peace Lutheran Church in Kamloops at 11 a.m., on September 3, 2011. A reception at the church will immediately follow the service. Ralph was a strong proponent of charitable giving; in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the donor’s favourite charity.
Condolences may be expressed at www.schoenings.com
~ Gone are the days we used to share, but in our hearts you’re always there ~