After abruptly learning of Johnnie’s death yesterday, it was no surprise to discover he had expressed the wish for a party “when this happened”. He had cleverly entrusted the social mandate to Lynn Kiely who as evidently shares Johnnie’s gusto for life (and death) in addition to being his long-standing public school friend going back as far as Grade One in Manor Park. Everything about Johnnie reasonates depth and longevity.
Naturally the memorial vernacular is not entirely new to those of us now in our 8th decade of existence. Already filmmakers like Federico Fellini have produced gripping images of death and monument which are ineluctable.
Federico Fellini Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian filmmaker. He is known for his distinctive style, which blends fantasy and baroque images with earthiness. He is recognized as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time.
Fellini Satyricon, or simply Satyricon, is a 1969 Italian fantasy drama filmwritten and directed by Federico Fellini and loosely based on Petronius’s work Satyricon, written during the reign of Emperor Nero and set in Imperial Rome. The film is divided into nine episodes, following Encolpius (Martin Potter) and his friend Ascyltus (Hiram Keller) as they try to win the heart of a young boy named Gitón within a surreal and dreamlike Roman landscape.
I can’t say whether, in my numerous conversations with Johnnie, he ever expressed himself strongly one way or the other about testimonials or gravestone trophies; but I am quite certain he would have greedily embraced the prospect of a celebratory congregation (as apparently he did in private with Lynn). His devotion to social conviviality was intense most particularly for the reason that he knew how to extract from the turnout a mountain of intelligence and resourcefulness. Strangely it was almost as though the uniqueness of the event were predictable. For example people like Scott A. McKay at table, with a spot of wine, are assured to promote countless hilarity and tantalizing amusement!
Last evening there had already begun to percolate the reiterations of a memorial. Jill Halliday called to express her condolences to me and Denis upon the loss of our notable former companion, a spirited account which quickly and shamefully descended to an absorption in matters of unrestrained drollness. She too only recently had endured the misery of surgical suicide by a long-standing friend of hers. My only despair about a memorial for Johnnie is that he won’t be able to attend. He’ll be out of town for this one! But I know his mere memory will awaken incalculable witticisms.
In the swirl of on-going communications surrounding Johnnie’s death, I was reminded of his signal connection with John Bishop and his former spouse Kathy Bouey.
Gerald Keith Bouey,(April 2, 1920 – February 6, 2004) was the fourth Governor of the Bank of Canada from 1973 to 1987, succeeding Louis Rasminsky. He was succeeded by John Crow.
Born in Axford, Saskatchewan, Bouey earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics at Queen’s University. During the Second World War, he served with the Royal Canadian Air Force, attaining the rank of flight lieutenant. In 1948 Bouey joined the Bank of Canada Research Department and became Assistant Chief in 1953, Deputy Chief in 1956 and Chief of Research in 1962. Bouey became Advisor to the Governor in 1965, Deputy Governor in 1969, Senior Deputy Governor in 1972, and Governor in 1973. In 1981, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and promoted to Companion in 1987. His wife is Anne, and they had two children, Kathryn and Robert.
It is undeniable that Johnnie balanced the necessity of a degree of social standing in all that he undertook in matters of cordiality. As proper as it were to accuse Johnnie of having his nose well-in-the-air, it were likewise correct to acknowledge that his spaciousness had no boundary. Indeed it may have been nothing but serendipity which punctuated so many of Johnnie’s alliances with distinction and singularity. Yet, to be frank, I am more inclined to credit Johnnie’s focus in life with its ineffable manifestations. I won’t suggest it were axiomatic; but I am certain there isn’t a dinner guest of Johnnie’s who wasn’t convinced at the outset of a good time. And who not as infrequently paid the price. Such is the penalty of a memorable occasion!