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Fern Dorothy Johnstone

Fern Dorothy Johnstone

Fern Dorothy Johnstone (née Williams) was born on July 13, 1949, in the small town of Telegraph Creek, BC and passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones on July 10, 2023, in Whistle Bend Place, Whitehorse, Yukon. Fern was a proud Crow Clan member of the Tahltan Nation. Fern’s parents were John and Mary Williams. Her mom belonged to the Crow clan and dad to the Wolf clan. She was the second youngest in a large family.

Fern spent her childhood years living in Telegraph Creek, Cassiar, and Fort St. John, BC. Eventually Fern made her way back north. She lived and worked in Ross River and Watson Lake, Yukon.

Fern met John in 1968 and they were married in Ross River in 1974. They raised two beautiful sons, Kevin and Michael.

In 1986 the family relocated to Whitehorse where Fern transferred as a Remedial Tutor to Whitehorse Elementary. Her love of teaching inspired her to attend the Yukon First Nation Education Program where after 4 years of dedication and perseverance she attained her Bachelor of Education in 1993 with distinction. Fern loved teaching and cared deeply for all her students. She retired in 2013 from Elijah Smith Elementary School. Fern made lifelong friends and had an incredible support network of colleagues and friends. Fern and John moved to Vancouver Island after retirement where they had spent many summers with their sons growing up.

Fern’s other interests included curling and golfing.  She attended many curling bonspiels with John and friends. Fern enjoyed watching curling.

Fern was predeceased by her mother Mary, father John, son Michael, sisters Mae, Shirley, and Lillian, and brothers Murphy and Ron.

Fern is survived by her husband John, son Kevin (Loralee), sister Mable, brother Hank, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Fern will be remembered for her dedication to family and her love of Christmas and teaching. She was a loving mother, wife, teacher, and friend. She will be forever remembered by those she impacted in her caring and thoughtful way.

Fern will be ‘Dancing in the Sky’ with many family members and friends.


Until We Meet Again.


Interment will take place at Grey Mountain Cemetery at a future date.

The family would like to sincerely thank the incredible staff at House 4 of Whistle Bend Place (WBP) for the amazing care they provided Fern. We would also like to thank those family and friends who made time to visit and reconnect with her while she was in WBP. We know it meant the world to her. Fern’s memory will live on, and she will be forever in our hearts.


A Celebration of Life of Fern’s life will be held at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre Multipurpose Room on Thursday, September 7, 2023, from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Interment at Grey Mountain Cemetery will follow at 4:30 pm.

Comments (4)
  • 21 July 2023
    Torie gerard

    You will be missed….

  • 29 July 2023
    Mrs. Irene La Prairie

    My Dear Friend, It was an honour to have shared in your life’s work and journey.
    Your spirit will endure in those fortunate to have called you teacher, friend, colleague and family.
    Miss you Fern!
    Deepest condolences to the family, John, Kevin & Loralee and Dear Mable and Hank.
    Irene La Prairie 🌹

  • 6 August 2023
    Trudy Veres

    Dear Fern, I have just found my album with our pictures of the class of 1989 at Selkirk Elementary School in Whitehorse. It was your first practicum and 21 grade three students were in our class.
    We worked as a team and you were so ready to get to work and help the kids. Teaching became your profession and the students benefitted from your quiet , dedicated manner. You later taught our grandkids at Elijah Smith Elementary , they loved you as well.
    Nick and I send our condolences to John, Kevin and Loralee. You will remain in our hearts.

  • 23 August 2023
    Kathryn Millar

    Fern and I met in Ross River; she was not only a dedicated remedial tutor in my classroom but she became a good friend. I could see her potential as a classroom teacher and later after her training (which included a 4 month practicum in my classroom) we taught together at Elijah Smith School. We called those our ‘Golden Years’. She wanted to make a difference in FN pupils’ lives and be a positive role mode for all students. She achieved both those goals.
    Our friendship continued throughout the years. We supported each other through challenging, difficult times. Fern was always courageous and took the high road in all her decisions. Throughout her struggle with tragedy and cancer I was felt blessed to be able to walk along side her. I feel honoured to call her my dear friend.
    Meduh, Fern and God willing we’ll meet again.
    My heartfelt condolences to John, Mable, Kevin, the wonderous Loralee and the rest of Fern’s family and friends.

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