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D: 2019-12-03
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William Ault
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John Pezzetta
B: 1950-07-08
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Dante Virgilio Pellegrini
B: 1934-11-14
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Carlo John Bigelli
B: 1935-01-08
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Cecil Inniss
B: 1942-07-15
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Loretta Kirk
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Wesley Lane
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B: 1971-06-25
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Lawrence Johnston

Lawrence W. "Larry" Johnston

Friday, October 7th, 1955 - Tuesday, May 21st, 2019
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Lawrence “Larry” Walker Johnston
October 7, 1955 – May 21, 2019
Beloved son of Iris and Harry (deceased) Johnston, loving brother of Jay (Susan) and Bruce (deceased), cherished husband of Ailsa Hanson. Son-in-law of Ken and Jean (deceased) Hanson, brother-in-law to Ron Hanson and Lesley (Rodney) Tennant. Uncle to Heather (Joe), Eric, Caroline (Jamie), Alison (George), Jane (Tim), Miriam and Rosalind.
Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Larry moved to Toronto to pursue his MA and PhD in political science at the University of Toronto. He taught at U. Of T.’s Scarborough Campus and at Ryerson, and wrote and co-authored several introductory political science texts. He was then employed by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the Legislative Research Service.
Larry said that music was his ‘avocation’ and he spent 25 years as organist and choir director at Westway United Church in Etobicoke.
He was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1999 but refused to let his disease define him or dictate how we live his remaining years. He continued to work, but decided that when he retired he wanted to return to Northern Ontario. The family moved to Richards Landing on St. Joseph Island near the Sault in 2007. After surgery in 2012, Larry retired from full-time employment at the Legislature, but about a year later was back on contract, working remotely at a job he loved.
He also became very active with the St. Joseph Island Pastoral Charge, singing in the choir and filling in as organist and choir director as well as serving on various committees.
Larry was an avid photographer, reader, gardener, hiker and cyclist. He lived with great courage, integrity, honesty and compassion, and will be dearly missed.
Sincere thanks to family and friends for your love and support throughout the last difficult weeks of Larry’s life.
A Memorial Service will be held at Westway United Church, 8 Templar Drive, Etobicoke on Monday, May 27th, 2019 at 11am. A service of remembrance will be held at a future date on the Island. Gifts to a charity of your choice in Larry’s memory would be deeply appreciated.
Please visit our Book of Memories at
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Service Details

  • Service

    Monday, May 27th, 2019 | 11:00am
    Monday, May 27th, 2019 11:00am
    Westway United Church
    8 Templar Drive
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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Private Condolence

Chris Wadley

Posted at 08:52pm
In 1978 , Larry played the organ at our wedding at St. Luke's in Sault Ste. Marie where we had both sung in the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. Larry was blessed with a far superior voice and greater musical intelligence. As an impoverished guitar teacher at the time of my wedding, I was most appreciative of the fact that Larry firmly stated that he would waive his fee as our wedding gift. Please accept our condolences and best wishes for his family.

Chris Looker

Posted at 11:17am
Larry played piano for our small emsemble, The Grace Notes. We were so lucky to be recipients of his musical talent and generous nature. Saddens me to hear that he has left us. My condolences to his loved ones.

Juli Roslin

Posted at 09:29am
In his spare time (?) in the mid 2000s, Larry was our volunteer pianist for our ladies singing ensemble called "The Grace Notes". Based out of West Humber United Church we performed at many other churches, senior & nursing homes. Always professional & a great accompanist, his integrity added & enhanced our performances to bring ours & his love of music to others. We will always remember him & what he did for us. Our condolences go to the whole family.
Juli Roslin

Michael Harrison

Posted at 08:53am
I’m very sorry to learn about Larry in this morning’s Globe and Mail. Larry and I joined forces over the many years he published the various editions of his textbooks with Broadview Press and the University of Toronto Press. On all occasions I thoroughly enjoyed our get togethers, usually over a simple Italian lunch near his office in Toronto at Queen’s Park. Conversations ranged far beyond any necessary book details, always marked by Larry’s poignant but gentle and when necessary, forgiving,
understanding. Larry’s political science texts, Politics, An Introduction and Ideologies, written during the small gaps left after his more important commitments to family, work, and church, were rigorous and highly regarded.
My sincere condolences to Larry’s family.
Michael Harrison (retired publisher)

Robert Marshall

Posted at 02:07pm
It is with great sadness that the Marshall family acknowledges Larry's passing.
Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Jane Marshall
Robert Marshall
Kathy Marshall and family.

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