Harvey passed away peacefully at home with his family at his side, which was his wish. He had struggled with cancer for the past four years – never complaining and always strong, but ever so sad that he wouldn’t be here to see and share more of his family’s life stories.
Harvey was born in Consort Hospital the second and last child of Wilson and Zita Johnstone. He attended school at Lakesend, Wheatridge, Nose Hills and Veteran, riding horseback to and from both Lakesend and Wheatridge.
In 1965 he married Sandra Schetzsle and they settled down in the Nose Hills area on the old Percy Grey farm. It was here they raised their family with many laughs and much love.
As a child, Harvey’s life was filled with many friends, lots of hard work, much music and endless laughter. He played banjo in the “Beebe orchestra” with Uncle Earl, Auntie Maime, Russ, Keith and Bob and occasionally Jim McKay. He thoroughly enjoyed all the fun and occasional “trouble” they would get into.
Harvey enjoyed sports and played fastball and hockey with the Nose Hills teams for many years. In later years he played recreational hockey with the Coronation Old Stock and gained many new friends in the process.
Harvey’s main loves were Sandra, his wife of 48 years, his four children and spouses and grandchildren, all of whom he was so proud, his friends and his farm surrounded by the hills. He really enjoyed grain farming – the cattle, not so much. Harvey always worked hard to provide for his family.
He enjoyed dancing, camping, fishing, golfing and travelling. Harvey and Sandra annually travelled south, usually for about a month. In later years the destination was usually Arizona to visit Sandra’s mom and Nevada for a bit of golf and gaming. They also took a motorhome tour all the way to Brownsvillle, Texas for their 25th anniversary, enjoyed a cruise to the Mexican Riviera and Hawaiian Islands, and toured the Maritime provinces only last summer.
Harvey is survived by his loving wife Sandra, son Randy (Debbie) Johnstone, daughters Julie (Greg) Schroeder, Candy (Cameron) Brown, Patricia (Kelly) Shaw, nine loving grandchildren Jordan and Bradley Schroeder, Travis and Eric Johnstone, Erin and Dylan Brown, Breanne, Tristen and Alyssa Shaw, all of which he would have given his life for. He is also survived by his sister, Jeanette Davis and one aunt, Alice Beebe and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents and parents-in-law, brother-in-law Rob Davis; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Sharon and Larry Wilson.
Harvey and Sandra spent many beautiful mornings and evenings out on the deck this past year when Harvey was no longer able to get out much, visiting with his friends and enjoying nature and having coffee with his son Randy.
His family and all who were a part of his life will sadly miss Harvey. We will honour his memory by doing our best to try to continue to make him proud of us all.
The funeral service to honour Harvey Lorne Johnstone took place at the Full Gospel Church, Veteran, AB on Wednesday September 25, 2013 at 2 pm.
Officiating was Pastor Darrel Durksen. Pianist was Linda Schetzsle, playing for the congregational hymn “What A Day That Will Be”.
Scripture Readings and The Lord’s Prayer was led by Susan Schetzsle.
Memories and Thank You to a Special Dad and Grandpa was shared by daughter, Julie Schroeder. Harvey’s daughters, Julie Schroeder, Candy Brown and Patty Shaw sang “In The Garden”. Gary Ulseth sang “Mansion Over The Hilltop” accompanied by Carolyn Devereux, Nils and Jeanette Berg.
A special tribute to a friend was given by Johnny Forrest. Special music, “Amazing Grace” was played by Nils and Jeanette Berg and Carolyn Devereux. There was opportunity given to those who wished to share their memories of Harvey.
The Urn Bearer was Harvey’s son Randy Johnstone. The honorary pallbearers were “All of Harvey’s Grandchildren”. Family and friends gathered in the Community Hall for a luncheon prepared and served by the Full Gospel Church Ladies, Communities In Bloom and neighbours.
If friends so desire memorial tributes may be made in Harvey’s memory to The Veteran Minor Sports, Box 639, Veteran, AB, T0C 2S0, Coronation Curling Club, Box 831, Coronation, AB, T0C 1C0 or to a charity of the donor’s choice. Condolences may be sent to email@example.com Heather Caseley of Coronation Funeral Home was entrusted with funeral arrangements. Ph. 403-578-2928.
by Julie Schroeder
Everyone has that certain someone in their life that gives them strength when you have none, courage when you are weak, hope when all is lost and love, simply because it is a gift to give. My father was that person to me.
The most important life lessons are ones that my father never actively tried to teach me. He simply lived them. Dad was a man with strong integrity, dedication and commitment to his family. He exemplified the type of person we all strive to be. Never giving advice unless we asked him, never telling us what we did wrong, simply let us find our way but was always there if we chose the wrong path.
My dad was very dedicated to his family. With the exception of work, nothing filled my dad’s time that didn’t involve his family. He would drive everywhere and anywhere if one of his children or grandchildren were playing baseball, hockey, volleyball, curling or attending music recitals. He was your biggest fan. As generous as my dad was with his time and his assistance, he was even more generous with his love.
Dad loved to camp, fish and golf, but in the last five years it became an annual event for all of our families to get together and gather at Capt ‘Ayre Lake for a weekend of great laughter, games and the occasional craziness. Dad loved to sit by the fire and listen to Cam, Kelly, Greg and Randy making fun of each other and telling funny stories and sometimes when they were just about to cross that invisible line, dad would do his famous hand gesture, one that we all love to do to this day. Dad also loved fireworks and every year the annual camping trip got bigger and better with the fireworks display. It was this past August that dad found incredible strength to be able to be part of one last trip to the lake to see what kind of fireworks display we would have.
Many people knew dad to be a great dancer. I remember watching my mom and dad as a young girl and being completely in awe of how smooth he was and could hardly wait until he would teach me. Dad, the dance floor was full during the last campout when you were sleeping. Everyone had a turn and you would have loved it. We will also keep the tradition of drumming on the dashboard and singing, both of which you loved to do after a night out with friends.
Dad’s greatest love was mom. In fact their marriage was a model to his children that will be hard to live up to. He and mom did everything together. He relied on her and she relied on him. There wasn’t a problem that they didn’t work out together.
Dad loved the farm. He taught us respect for animals even letting us bring into the house just about every creature we could find, if it meant we could save it. Even baby skunks. He simply wanted us to embrace the simple things God gave us.
Today we say goodbye to a husband, father and grandfather, but many of you here today say goodbye to a friend. Dad taught us the value of friendship. It was evident every time any of his friends stopped by. So many great memories were made around the kitchen table, so much laughter which by the end of the night would usually lead to more singing and dancing. He loved each of you.
My dad had many loves and interests but if there is one thing that I would want you to remember my dad for, it would be that he loved us with all his heart. As we gather here today to celebrate his life, I know there is not one member of my dad’s family that wishes dad had loved them more. We simply wished we could have loved him longer.
I love you through the weeds.
by Johnny Forrest
Our family became neighbours to the Johnstones about 49 years ago and it didn’t take long for me to realize that we had lucked out in the neighbour department, the Johnstone family being what is best described as salt of the earth farm folks. In a rural community good neighbours are often your most valuable asset. As we became better acquainted, Sandra and Harvey and Jeanette and I became good friends; sharing holidays with our kids, attending social functions together, watching our families grow up, many card games (boys against the girls) and many, many visits over coffee.
We and the Johnstones helped one another at branding time for nearly 49 years, a job I always looked forward to as, along with the work, it always involved a lot of fun, a good visit and one of Sandra’s home cooked meals.
Last spring was the first time Harvey missed it, and it was a sad day for both of us. If I were to list all the the good memories I have of time spent with Harvey, we would be here all day. So I will only mention one or two. The four of us driving along, singing along with the eight track and Harvey keeping time on the dashboard (he was a darn good dashboard drummer, and also singer). Or the time the Johnstones hosted a party in their first little home – I bet several people remember that party. There was no room to dance inside, so they moved the speakers out on the lawn where we danced ‘till sunrise: the next day that grass looked like a herd of buffalo had been penned up on it for a week. Harvey always had a good laugh when we recalled that.
Harvey was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. There was nothing too good for Sandra or his kids and grandkids. He was extremely proud of all their accomplishments, but being a very modest person he was very careful not to brag about them. Harvey made every effort to attend sporting events that his family were involved in, even when his health was failing he forced himself to be there for him. I am sure they all know that he loved them dearly.
Next to his family Harvey loved farming like his dad before him. I don’t think that Harvey ever wanted to be anything but a farmer; he took great joy in watching his and his neighbour’s crops grow and always knew exactly the condition of the crops at any given time. When Harvey and Sandra returned from a trip of any length, Harvey could always give a good account of the crop conditions in the areas that they had travelled. He even inspired me to not just look at livestock but to pay attention to crop conditions so that I could report to him when returning from a trip.
While Harvey was a fairly calm individual most of the year, like most grain farmers he became a man on a mission during spring seeding and harvest. Harvey would not rest easy until the last seed was in the ground in the spring, or the last bushel in the bin in the fall.
Harvey enjoyed all sports. He played ball and hockey with the Nose Hill teams and later enjoyed many games and tournaments with the Coronation Old Stock hockey team. Harvey curled a bit, hunted, fished, played golf and played a mean game of horseshoes. He especially enjoyed the friends and acquaintances he made through sports. Harvey was an avid sports fan; he enjoyed watching all sports, live or on TV. Harvey enjoyed music and in younger years played banjo with the Beebe family band.
When Harvey had his farm work done in the fall he and Sandra took numerous trips to various points in Canada and the United States, and usually managed to spend some time in Laughlin and Jackpot, Nevada. Two recent trips that Harvey especially enjoyed were a Hawaiian cruise and a trip through the Maritime provinces.
Harvey was an extremely moral and honest man and a loyal friend. He was tolerant of different opinions but if there was anything he could not tolerate it was immorality and dishonesty. When Harvey told me about his illness I was impressed – but not surprised – by his courage. He said ‘what will be, will be. We will just have to deal with this as best we can.’ He maintained a positive attitude and lived every day to it’s fullest as long as he was able.
As I mentioned, Harvey was a modest person and I would like to close with a poem that I think is how Harvey would describe himself.
I’m just a Farmer Plain and Simple
by Bobby Collier
I’m just a farmer,
Plain and simple.
Not of royal birth
But rather, a worker of the earth.
I know not of riches,
But rather, of patches on my britches.
I know of draught and rain,
Of pleasure and pain.
I know of good and bad,
The happy and the sad.
I am a man of emotion.
A man who loves this land,
And the beauty of it’s sand.
I know of a spring’s fresh flow,
And autumn’s golden glow,
Of a newborn calf’s hesitation,
And an eagle’s destination.
I know of tall pines,
And long, waiting lines.
Of the warmth of campfires,
And the agony of flat tires.
But I am a man who loves his job,
And the life I live.
I am a man who works with God,
I cannot succeed without his help.
For you see,
I’m just a farmer,
Plain and simple.
Card of thanks
Sandra Johnstone and all of her family wish to thank the people of all three communities – Veteran, Coronation and Consort – for all of their support: food, flowers, visits, phone calls, etc., after the loss of Harvey.
Special thanks to all those who helped Randy during haying and harvest, and to extended family for being there for us, always.
Thank you to Heather and staff, Pastor Durksen and all who helped with the service by singing, playing special music and giving tributes. Thank you to the Full Gospel Church ladies and all who brought lunch.
We are truly humbled and grateful for everyone’s efforts to comfort us.