‘J.K.’ Born in Sydenham Township, Ontario in 1930, James Keith Johnson died suddenly on April 13, 2018.
The son of George Milford and Mary Louise Johnson, both of Sydenham Township; he was predeceased by his sister, Marjorie Woodhouse; and his brother, Tom. Keith was the partner, husband, and best friend of Dr. Jill Vickers for 49 years; loving father of Mary and Elizabeth ‘Bobby’ Johnson, Michael Vickers and Matthew Johnson; and affectionate ‘Grampa’ of Alec, Calum, Leo, and Miles. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Marjorie; nieces, Nancy, and Marilyn Plaumann, and nephews, Russell and David Johnson; nephew, Peter Woodhouse and nieces, Kathryn Taylor, Barbara Fawcett, and Margaret Hamilton.
Keith studied history at the University of Toronto, graduating from Victoria College with the Class of 5T3. He worked for the Public Archives of Canada and then taught in Carleton University’s Department of History, specializing in Upper Canadian history. Retiring from teaching in 1995 as Emeritus Professor, he continued his research and writing right up until the day he died. Keith was honoured with many academic awards including the Canadian Silver Jubilee Medal and the Ontario Historical Society’s Cruikshank Gold Medal. His contributions to Canadian history include editing the Canadian Directory of Parliament and Affectionately Yours: The Letters of Sir John A. Macdonald and his Family and his books Becoming Prominent: Regional Leadership in Upper Canada and In Duty Bound: Men, Women and the State in Upper Canada.
Keith was known for his wry humour and for his gentleness, kindness, generosity, and humility. He was an enthusiastic supporter of all things Canadian, a longtime Toronto Argonauts fan, and an ardent and knowledgeable classical music lover. His daily pleasures included Jeopardy! and the Globe’s Cryptic crossword.
Gifts in Keith’s memory will be used to support students in Carleton University’s Department of History.