Rene Johnson Passes Away

2 Nov

Rene Johnson, wife of Sid Lorraine, passed away on October 31, 2009. She was born Irene Kathleen Annie Buttler on March 26, 1911 in Leystonstone, England, a suburb of London, England. Her family relocated to Canada when she was a child. From her earliest years, she was interested in art. In her late teens, Rene began work as a commercial artist for Batten, a graphic arts and lithography firm in Toronto, Ontario. It was there that she met Sid Johnson, an assistant art director of the company. After a three year courtship, they were married July 20, 1932, the very day Sid started the run of his weekly radio show – Radio Magic – on C.F.R.B. (Above photo: Sid and Rene on their wedding day.) They were married for fifty-seven years.
During their early marriage, Rene became a freelance artist for Chatelaine magazine, Better Homes and Gardens and drew illustrations for Church of England publications. Ever gracious and hospitable, the couple often invited touring magicians, famous and infamous, to their home. Rene quickly became friends with magicians around the world. When their two children, Ruth and Douglas, began college, Rene began accompanying Sid to magic conventions and was a great supporter of his passion for magic. As their daughter Ruth wrote, “Sid was her best friend, her hero, her lover, her mentor and her soul mate.”

Sid dedicated his “Scrapbook”, published by the Abbott Magic Co to Rene:

This book is affectionately dedicated to my wife, Rene…who, for thirty years has done such a fine job of raising a family; putting out the garbage; shoveling snow; cleaning windows; digging the garden; spreading fertilizer and cutting down trees; mowing the lawn; mixing cement; hanging wallpaper; repairing stoves and cleaning drains…so that I could devote my time to the more important things like thimble-moves and cutting rope…threading colored beads and blocks on bits of string and doing major research with rubber bands, paper clips and playing cards.

Even many years after Sid’s death on October 15, 1989, Rene still corresponded with magicians near and far. She had candour, wit, talent, an amazing memory and a lust for life. She was loved by all who had the honour of knowing her and will be sorely missed.

Magicana is honoured to be singled out by the Johnson Family as a benefiting charity from donations given in memory of Rene Johnson. To make an online donation, click here.
Visit Magicana’s featured online exhibition, “The Magical Chatterbox: A Blog by Sid Lorraine“.

One Response to “Rene Johnson Passes Away”

  1. mai-ling November 2, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    I am very saddend to hear of Rene's passing.I have very fond memories of her when I was5-6 years old when we worked the CNE.I treasure a photo taken by my p's nextto the world's smallest zig zag talking toUncle Sid, Rene and Bruce Postgate at the CNE.Another great magician's wife is now gone.(Carol Roy, my mom and now Rene)

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