Dr. Nealon Johnson

Obituary of Dr. Nealon Ross Johnson

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Nealon Ross Johnson, cherished father and beloved husband of 64 years to Ghislaine Josianne Johnson (née Monoré). Neal passed away peacefully at the age of 89, surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his daughters Monique Johnson and Annette Johnson (Bryon), and his adored grandchildren Natasha Castellano (Cody), Quentin Talarmin, Madeleine Castellano, Mélanie Talarmin, and Brett Castellano.

Neal began his career as a high school teacher in Deep River before teaching history at Aldershot in Burlington. His thirst for knowledge led him to pursue a doctorate, and he subsequently became a respected professor of French language and literature at the University of Guelph until his retirement. Known for his wit, dry humor, and captivating storytelling, Neal endeared himself to students and colleagues alike. His legendary memos to upper administration were always a highlight, showcasing his sharp intellect and playful spirit. A man of extensive knowledge and intelligence, our father never took himself too seriously preferring to focus on building connections and becoming the extraordinary pedagogue that he was. Learning and transmitting knowledge were his passions and never a moment was wasted if a lesson could be gleaned. Going to the St. Jacob’s market was not just a shopping trip but a time to discuss the Mennonite history and its rich culture and of course purchase a pie or some maple syrup. Yes, our father had a well-developed sweet tooth and teaching his daughters how to drive was just a way for him to go to DQ without our mom knowing. He was also an animal lover, avid birdwatcher and a true softy when it came to his four-legged friends. It was he who paid for the adoption fees for several of our dogs and he would always joke that half of the dog was his..but which half? And boy did the dogs love him back, dogs would immediately lie or sit next to him knowing that he was sure to drop crumbs or in one case an entire blueberry pie. So perhaps a bit of a messy eater.


But messy or not, Neal enjoyed good food and company all around the world. He and our mother traveled extensively, and my sister and I benefitted from this as they would always 

bring us along if they could, such places as Columbia, Spain, Germany and of course France where he and our mother first met.  It was an extraordinary childhood. One of our last family trips was a return to Ireland where our father was able to reunite with some family members and discover a little bit more about his ancestry. His absolute joy at seeing the greens of Ireland one more time was well worth the many sidemirrors that he accidently took out along the drive.


When not exploring the world, our father could be found playing tennis at the Wellington Raquette Club and later the Cutten Club or perhaps just at the public courts of St. George’s Park near our childhood home. There was always someone ready for a good match and some witty repartee. It seems our dad could converse with just about anyone and on just about any subject, and, an avid audiophile, no one could keep up with him when it came to music, but not today’s obnoxious thumping music but real music: classical music and opera.


Neal's zest for life, his ability to light up a room with laughter, and his knack for making everyone feel at home will be dearly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

As per our father’s wishes, there will be no funeral service. However, we invite those that knew him to an open house celebration of life at 8 Cote Drive, Guelph, ON N1E 1Z3 on August 8th from 2pm to 8pm. Please come by and tell us a story or share a memory of our father with us.




Celebration of Life

2:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thursday, August 8, 2024
8 Cote Drive
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Share Your Memory of
Dr. Nealon