Mickey Johnstone, an Inspiration to Many

Posted on September 14, 2015 by Catherine Ross

Mickey Johnstone passed away peacefully with family by her side on August 31st, 2015.

Mickey Johnstone passed away peacefully with family by her side on August 31st, 2015.

With the death of Mickey Johnstone on August 31, 2015 in Orillia, Ontario, Canadian camping has lost a great leader. Together with her husband, Ron, who inspired the creation of CCA’s highest honour, The Ron Johnstone Lifetime Achievement Award, Mickey founded and directed, Camp White Bear on Lake Temagami, Ontario. Ron and Mickey began their camping career working for the YMCA and after closing White Bear, they continued working in camping with Jack Pearse at Camp Tawingo.

Mickey was a long time member of the OCA Education Committee and a frequent presenter at OCA conferences. Because of her many contributions to camping in Ontario, the Ron and Mickey Johnstone Youth Leadership Award is presented each year at the annual conference to two outstanding youth leaders in camping. Mickey always attended the final banquet to present these awards personally. By popular demand, she traditionally opened her presentation with a joke – always a somewhat racy joke, unexpected from a lady of her mature years! Mickey’s sense of humour was contagious. Chauffeured by Jane McCutcheon, every summer, Mickey endeavored to visit these young award winners in their camp setting. Her interest in and support of youth and camping continued throughout her lifetime.

Mickey’s failing health necessitated her being hooked up to a dialysis machine three times a week for the past sixteen years. But her zest for life never faltered! She continued to enjoy line dancing, volunteering with Grandmothers to Grandmothers and working at her church. Mickey loved life and she loved people. A visit with her was a sheer joy, full of stories and laughter. Mickey will be sorely missed by all those who had the privilege of knowing and loving her.

Past Communications Officer at Canadian Camping Association
Catherine's lifelong love of camping began in 1953 when she accompanied her mother, the new camp cook, to Camp Tanamakoon in Algonquin Park. She remained at Tan until 1978 as a camper and in several staff roles. After five years as a teacher, in 1979, Catherine and her husband George purchased Camp Mi-A-Kon-Da for girls in Parry Sound, Ontario which they owned for 20 years. Catherine has served on the Board of the Ontario Camps Association, and is Past President of the Society of Camp Directors. She is served as Communications Officer on the Board of the CCA, as is a recipient of the CCA's Ron Johnstone Lifetime Achievement Award. She is past editor of Camps Canada, published by the CCA, and the OCAsional News, the newsletter of the OCA. She is the author of four publications. Her articles on camping have appeared in numerous magazines.