Say­ing so long to Ger­ald

An­thony John­son pays trib­ute to his older brother


The small north shore community of Gull Is­land is feel­ing a lit­tle emp­tier these days fol­low­ing the pass­ing of Ger­ald John­son, a well-known ci­ti­zen who died Sept. 18 fol­low­ing a bat­tle with can­cer.

The 60-year-old was given a unique and fit­ting send-off dur­ing a well-at­tended funeral ser­vice on Sept. 21 at the Cor­pus Christi Ro­man Catholic Church in nearby North­ern Bay.

Ger­ald’s cas­ket was trans­ported to the nearby ceme­tery aboard a horse-drawn wagon as a fi­nal trib­ute to his life­long in­ter­est in horses.

Ger­ald’s younger brother, An­thony, said it was an ap­pro­pri­ate good-bye. Over the years, An­thony es­ti­mates his brother owned 100 dif­fer­ent horses.

“Ev­ery­one that had horses, he knew them all and was a friend to them. He could leave here and prob­a­bly go to Bay Roberts or Har­bour Grace or any­where and look at a horse and could tell who reared him up and where they came from,” said An­thony. He even had a unique fash­ion of trad­ing horses. “He’d some­time go in the woods with a red one and meet up with some­one will­ing to trade, and he’d come home with a black one,” said An­thony.

Long af­ter it was a ne­ces­sity to own a horse for tasks such as haul­ing wood or plow­ing ground, Ger­ald main­tained his equine pas­sion.

It was only in re­cent years that he didn’t own a horse, largely be­cause of his is­sues with di­a­betes.

“I re­call him com­ing home at night and telling me to plug in the light in barn. He’d go out there for hours to groom the horse. His an­i­mals were well-treated,” said An­thony.

Ger­ald was never mar­ried, and did not have any chil­dren. He lived alone in the fam­ily homestead.

“He never both­ered a woman. He’d sooner have a horse than a woman. Maybe that’s a smart thing,” An­thony joked.

Ger­ald’s house was of­ten a gath­er­ing place for a crowd of lo­cal men, where they would talk about top­ics such as horses, fish­ing and the woods.

“The more peo­ple in the house the bet­ter. He loved crowds,” An­thony noted.

Ger­ald’s niece, 26-year-old Amanda Le­drew, paid trib­ute to her un­cle with a poem. Here is a por­tion of the poem: “My un­cle was the type, who wore his heart upon his sleeve, and ev­ery time you’d visit, he never wanted you to leave; A cup laid on the counter, al­ways ready for some tea, his door was al­ways open, to his friends like you and me; He re­ally loved his horses, and he owned quite a few, ev­ery­one around him knew, this was very true.” Ger­ald is sur­vived by two broth­ers, An­thony and Michael, and two sis­ters, El­iz­a­beth John­son and Theresa Tra­verse.

“He’d some­time go in the woods with a red one and meet up with some­one will­ing to trade, and he’d come home with a black one.”

— An­thony John­son


Ger­ald John­son of Gull Is­land passed away last month. He was 60 years-of-age.

An­thony John­son is pic­tured here next to one of his many horses.

An­thony John­son stands next to his brother’s cas­ket dur­ing a funeral ser­vice on Sept. 21. Ger­ald John­son’s cas­ket was trans­ported to the ceme­tery by a horse-drawn wagon.

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