By Kathryn Stocks
Mary Johnson was a fun-loving, selfless, caring, community-minded mother, friend and companion who put her heart into everything she did, her husband Cam said. Both were born and raised in Hamilton and that was where they met. They married in 1975 and moved to Toronto the same year. Three years later, they moved into their new home here in Centennial.
When she arrived in Toronto, Mary started working downtown but soon quit to have children. Kevin was born in 1978 and Erica in 1981. As the kids were growing up, Mary was a good communicative teacher and made sure they were active in soccer, hockey and baseball among other activities. She was always there cheering them on. When the kids were in their teens, a friend of Mary’s got her interested in working as a school crossing guard and she started in 1994. She was part-time at first but it quickly became a full-time position at Meadowvale Public School and she was there for 26 years.
Mary was a very popular and proud crossing guard at the school and continued working there until March of this year when the schools closed for COVID-19. She welcomed the students back each year with balloons and she liked to celebrate special holiday occasions by dressing up and handing out treats. She knew the names of all the students she crossed as well as all the teachers. She attended the school’s functions, including fundraising, assemblies and the Kindergarten and Grade 8 graduations every year. She also went to intramural events to watch the children participate and cheer them on in team sports like basketball and soccer as well as individual ones such as track and field, cross-country and folk dancing.
“She was reliable, hard working, safety-conscious, protective and positive-minded. She had a genuine interest in people and talked to ‘her’ kids about their families, siblings, their interests and personal accomplishments,” Cam said. “She got to know lots of people in the community.”
She was so well-loved that student ambassadors at Meadowvale nominated her for Canada’s Favourite Crossing Guard in 2010. Much to the students’ delight, she won.
On the social side, Mary met monthly with her Rummoli card group and was also an avid bowler. Sometimes she had to run from her crossing guard job to get a little bowling in between shifts. She had been a distributor of this paper since 1998 and the CCRA appreciates her long and enthusiastic service to the community.
Mary was diagnosed with wide-spread cancer in late July and she passed away after a courageous battle at home on August 23, a week after her 71st birthday. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.