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Ian Johnson

Image by Nick Andréka


May 15 1944 – January 15 2024

“Never let the truth interfere with a good story”

While visiting Winnipeg, Ian was walking to a store to purchase his daily newspapers when he experienced a cardiac arrest.  He did not suffer, linger, or have the opportunity to provide his opinions on the contents of the newspaper that day.

Ian leaves behind his loving family, wife Pippi, daughter Amy (Kevin Kozar), son Derek (Crystal) Johnson, grandchildren Charlie, Harry and Miles Kozar of Thunder Bay, and Jade and Alex Johnson of Winnipeg.  Ian is survived by numerous Johnson relations far and wide, particularly his brother Jim and sister-in-law Anne Johnson, in laws Janice Horton, Wendy and Ron Hutchinson and their families, dear friends Sheila Charran, Margaret, Dan, Michael and Jason Schram.  Beyond his family, Ian leaves friends across the world as he connected with others wherever he travelled.  

Ian had an idyllic childhood in Kenora and on Coney Island with his parents Jim and Marg Johnson, brothers David, Doug and Jimmy, and all of the Johnson cousins.  Ian attended United College and the University of Manitoba, completing a degree in Pharmacy.  Most important in his university career was his membership in Phi Delta Theta where he met numerous lifelong friends who sustained him through all of life’s challenges and triumphs.

Ian became the third generation of his family to proudly operate Johnson’s Pharmacy in Kenora Ontario.  He truly loved his job, interacting with his customers, offering advice to all, and facilitating connections.  He thrived on the social aspect of being a small-town business operator.  In retirement, he brought his competitive edge and his love of a good time to the Windstar golf course in Naples, Florida.

Ian created a wonderful life for his friends and family centered around the camp on Treaty Island, where there was always a party with a band, a barbeque, a lake cruise and a refreshment in the ice machine.  Numerous guests were welcomed to share in the magic of a summer on Lake of the Woods.  His afternoons at Hammer City, included sitting on the dock with a frosty OV, telling stories, dispensing advice and laughing loudly.

Ian was a lifelong sportsman – hockey player, curler, golfer and more.  He was a dedicated fan of the CFL – proud of attending 25 consecutive Grey Cups, and the stories told afterwards always exceeded the believable.  As the Czar of Wednesday golf in Naples and Thursday golf in Kenora, he loved bringing old and new friends together, always making sure all were included and enjoyed themselves fully.  He drove big cars and big boats, their noise matching his distinct Johnson voice.

Ian made everything happen, and we will miss him always.  

A cremation has taken place and there is no service at this time.  A celebration of life will be held in Kenora this summer.  In memory of Ian’s love for his community, please direct your tributes to the Lake of the Woods District Hospital Foundation.


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St. Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

Memories, Stories and Condolences


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George and Mary Jo

May 8, 2024 at 9:27 PM

We enjoyed Ian's friendship over the last 22 years and his golfing skill, always playing by "Kenora Rules" which only IAN  knew or understood. I could occasionally attempt to match him in golf but never in beer!  We will miss his jovial good humor.

Ron Menna

May 8, 2024 at 9:23 PM

Johnson wins, we don’t come to play golf we come to drink ,we play social golf, is it a real two etc. etc. . These are a few of what I call Johnsonisms.   He was bigger than life and loved life and everyone he came in contact with.  He is missed and will never be forgotten.  I know he is in a better place playing golf and drinking Bud Lite with the guys.

We all miss you everyday

David Bedford

May 8, 2024 at 9:22 PM

When I joined the Wednesday Johnson group at Windstar, I was welcomed by playing my first game with Ian. I learned you have to roll your ball over to identify it, that there are no gimmees for birdies or pars, that we are a drinking group not a golf group, and that Johnson always wins!  Serendipity therefore had me playing with Ian for his final Windstar game before his trip to Winnipeg.  My sincere condolences to Pippi, Amy, Derek and the entire Johnson family.  Rest in peace my friend. You are greatly missed!

Kathy and Don

May 8, 2024 at 4:24 PM

a wonderful, fun gentleman….  a good friend to many ….he shall truly be missed …. Our love to pippy and family ….you have many wonderful memories to treasure and you are all much in our thoughts and our hearts….


May 8, 2024 at 4:01 PM

The last time I saw Ian Johnson, a Johnson, like like figure walked by the window of the restaurant and I thought it must’ve been a Johnson but when I finally saw him inside, it was the real thing  - minus 75 pounds. He told me about his lymphoma, and the fact that he expected to live five or six years and that would be fine. He was concerned about sloop. We had a wonderful reminiscence and picked it up again at the Phi reunion later in September. Although his death must’ve been very peaceful. He certainly will be missed by all his many friends .Another of the Kenora giants has passed,  We all Will miss he and the others. I’m glad to have known Ian Johnson, sloop, and his older, brother Dave, and many many other Kenorites. What a remarkable place it must have been to grow and foster such a remarkable group of characters!

Ian Craigon

May 8, 2024 at 3:51 PM

Another Ian, and he was my Brother!!  I am so glad I got to visit, albeit briefly with Brother Johnson at the Phi Delta Theta reunion in September.  Ian was always so welcoming, friendly and easy to talk to.  I wish I'd have had the opportunity to golf and party with him more over the years.  Sincere condolences to Pipi and family from this Ian.

Alana Findlay

May 8, 2024 at 3:50 PM

My condolences to Pippi, Amy, Derek, and the huge extended family and friends who will feel the loss of Ian's presence in their lives.


May 8, 2024 at 3:48 PM

David and Linda Pryde

May 8, 2024 at 2:07 PM

Knowing Ian for the past 50 years has been an honor and a privilege. He had a larger than life personality and Pippi and he were generous hosts to a wee Scottish lad who had just moved to Canada. It was always a delight to join the party when he was holding court in either Kenora or Naples. Our sincere condolences to Pippi and the rest of the Johnson family.


May 8, 2024 at 2:04 PM

What a beauty! Ian and I had a great chat and catchup in September. One of the highlites of my trip. Lead on Brother!


May 8, 2024 at 1:59 PM

Ian was a wonderful person. He often took the time to chat with me when I was at the house hanging out with Marg.

You will be missed by many- especially your wife and family. My condolences to them all.

Jerry Becker

May 7, 2024 at 9:30 PM

Ian was a great friend.  We golfed together M-W-F for the past 11 years, always with beers & stories after.  We also did happy hour at the Maccaw on Thursdays.  A few years ago we flew with friends to Green Bay for a Packer game.  For several years before Covid I drove from WI to Kenora during the summer to stay with Ian & Pippi at their camp on Treaty Island.  Ian did not fish, but he always made sure I had people to fish with. I met many of his Kenora friends when I played in his Thur golf group.  He was a huge presence here at Windstar, his passing leaves a void that can't be filled.  Most sincere condolences to Pippi, Amy & Derek and the whole Johnson family.

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