Clan Donald Magazine Online Edition
William (Bill) W. Johnson BA LLB
FSA Scot 1936 - 2005
It is with deep regret that we report the death on 23
December 2005 of Bill Johnson who was High Commissioner of Clan
Donald Canada from 1998 to 2000.
Bill's death was reported in the London Free Press of 24 December
Renowned lawyer dies By April Kemick, Free Press Reporter.
local defence lawyer known for his exceptional record in jury trials
died yesterday at age 69.
Bill Johnson, a longstanding St. Thomas lawyer and community leader,
died from complications after heart surgery at an Ottawa hospital.
"If I ever was in trouble. I would have hired him." said Johnson's
long-time friend and colleague, Ernest Popovich, who referred to
Johnson as a "master" of the jury trial.
"If you were lucky enough to have him represent you in a jury trial,
you were almost sure to be acquitted." Popovich said, "He was not
only a lawyer, he was a great actor."
Johnson was a �larger than life" figure who relied on dramatics to
win over juries, said Justice Ted McGrath.
"He was always entertaining and he was great on cross-examination,�
McGrath remembered. "He was the dean of the criminal law bar (in the
St. Thomas area) for the last quarter-century."
Another former colleague said Johnson's winning record with juries
put him on the map far beyond South-western Ontario.
"He might have had the most jury trials of any lawyer in Canada, and
perhaps the winningest percentage," said Justice David Little.
"There was nobody that matched him," Little said of the Queen's
University grad who ran his own practice for more than three
Friends said yesterday the burly man was also well known for his
interests outside the justice system.
A longstanding Liberal supporter, Johnson helped on many campaigns
and served as president of the Elgin Liberal party association
several times, said Popovich.
The father of four was also involved in Junior B hockey in St.
Thomas as administrator, coach and commentator. "Bill's passing will
leave an immeasurable void because he touched so many peoples'
lives," Popovich said.
Extract from the Death Notice:
JOHNSON William W., at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute,
Ottawa, on Friday, December 23, 2005. William Johnson BA LLB FSA
Scot in his 70th year, dearly loved husband of Patricia B. (Reid)
Johnson. Dear father of Kimberley Johnson and her husband Norman
Feaver, Craig Johnson and his wife Susan, Victoria Westaway and her
husband Larry and Brooke Moore and her husband Michael, all of St.
Thomas. Brother of Dr. Gary G. Johnson and his wife Gail of Ottawa
and M. Cheryl and her husband Dr. Kenneth Muxlow of London. Loved
grandfather of Andrew Reid Westaway, John MacIain Westaway, Tara
Margaret Samantha Johnson and Angus William Johnson. Born in St.
Thomas, August 9, 1936, he was the son of the late Orville C.
Johnson and E. Yvonne (Stevenson) Johnson. He was a graduate of
Queen's University where he was active in politics and was a lineman
with the Queen's Golden Gaels Football Team. After graduation from
Queen's Law school, he articled with the law firm of Stafford Fanjoy
Hennessey & Kempster. He founded the firm of William W. Johnson &
Associates in St. Thomas. Active in the community, Bill had coached
and scouted for the St Thomas Junior B Hockey Team and was a Past
president of the Elgin Federal Liberal Association. He was a Past
High Commissioner of Clan Donald Canada and a life member of the
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He was a proud charter member of
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