Ferneley Wray Johnston, a lifetime resident of the Williamsburg area, passed away at the Ottawa General Hospital on Sat., March 31, 2007, following a brief illness. He was 80.
He was born west of Winchester on Nov. 29, 1926 to his parents Carman and Hilda Johnston (nee McIntosh). His family moved to Bouck’s Hill and bought a farm, but they had to move back to Winchester because his grandparents needed help. After they moved back to Winchester Ferneley’s father died, he was only nine years old at that time. He and his mother and sister then moved back to Bouck’s Hill where he lived until his death.
After his father’s death he accompanied his Uncle Ed Casselman, who was a cattle drover, on his rounds. Following his uncle’s death, he bought for drovers Hugh McIntosh, and then Keith Schell, and they would ship the cattle to Montreal. When Keith Schell quit, farmers convinced Ferneley to go on his own. He bought a truck and started his own business. Over the years he spent many hours trucking cattle to Embrun, Winchester, Lancaster, and Moulinette sale barns.
On June 10, 1948 he married Marion Colquhoun at Williamsburg United Church manse, and together they had three daughters Carole, Linda, and Donna.
During his 50 plus years working as a cattle drover he was lucky because he was only slightly injured on two occasions. The highlight of his career as a drover was having the privilege of selling the largest cow at Leo’s Sale Barn. She weighed 2,230 pounds. He always said he didn’t make much money selling cattle, but he had a lot of fun. He did it all his life and he wouldn’t have wanted to do anything else. His career as a drover was highlighted by an appearance on Regional Contact in 1989. In addition to being a cattle drover, he also delivered the mail to the residents of RR# 2 Williamsburg for over 53 years.
Ferneley and Marion would have been married 59 years on June 10. They met at a dance at Paul’s Hall in Williamsburg. They dated for about a year and a half and then married. They always worked as a team and the work got done. If Ferneley was late coming home from the sale barn or he was out with the boys, Marion always saw that the chores were done each and every day. Together they provided a wonderful home for their three daughters to grow up in.
He was a very good dad. He enjoyed taking his daughters to the Nation River to fish, on Sunday drives in the country sight seeing, or to the Morrisburg dairy to get an ice cream cone, which was a treat Ferneley always enjoyed. Over the years he was always there for his family when they needed him and he will be dearly missed by all of them.
He was not only well thought of by his family, but he was well liked and respected by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. He possessed an easy-going disposition that enabled him to befriend both young and old alike.
Throughout his 80 years he enjoyed eating and having fun. He possessed a good sense of humour, and always had something funny to say. He loved children, and he always took the time to make each child he encountered feel special.
He will be fondly remembered for his trademark brush cut which he got trimmed every two weeks, and his love of animals, especially cows and cats.
He was extremely loyal to his family, his friends, his work, and his community. He was like a walking encyclopedia when it came to Dundas County and its residents. He knew who was related to whom, who was married to whom, where a certain individual lived now and where they used to live, and a great deal of other information that he could recount with amazing detail.
He is survived by his wife Marion and his daughters Carole (David) Pittman of Ottawa, Linda (Wayde) Roles, and Donna (Dale) Casselman, both of Bouck’s Hill. He was predeceased by his sister Shirley Johnston. He will be fondly remembered by grandchildren Wendy Casselman (Kirk Stewart), Derek (Danette) Roles, Joanne Casselman, and great-grandchildren Sawyer, Taylor, and Jayden. He is also survived by nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Williamsburg, on April 2. An Oddfellows service was held in the evening on April 2. The funeral service was held at Williamsburg United Church on April 3 with Rev. Isabel Black officiating, followed by interment at New Union Cemetery in Williamsburg.
The pallbearers were Bruce Whitteker, Brian Whitteker, Dave Baldwin, Marc Baldwin, Hugh Garlough, and Robert Byvelds. Honourary pallbearers were Johnny Whitteker, Glen Cunningham, Harold Coughler, Clair Algire, Rae Casselman, and Lyal Kehoe.
Donations to Winchester District Memorial Hospital or New Union Cemetery would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.