Former Peace Arch News reporter Andrea Johnson, who passed away suddenly last week, is being remembered for her kindness, generosity and her tireless volunteer efforts.
Johnson was sports reporter and assistant editor at PAN from 2000 until 2006 – with a brief stint at the Langley Times sandwiched in the middle – when she moved north to serve as editor of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer, another Black Press Media newspaper.
She worked in Quesnel until 2009, when she moved to Prince George to work in the communications industry, in addition to a two-year stint as a sports reporter with the Prince George Citizen.
On Monday, as news spread of Johnson’s death, tributes poured in on social media.
“She was an amazing lady. Smart, funny, hardworking, dedicated, driven, kind and full of life,” wrote Tara Johnson Barnes. “She will be greatly missed.”
“Many of my interactions with Andrea have been in the context of service to our community,” wrote Faith Fundal. “I, Prince George, and the world have lost a gem.”
Johnson’s cousin, Tracy Lynn, wrote on Johnson’s Facebook page that “there will be a very large hole left with her absence.”
The flags at the University of Northern British Columbia – where Johnson had worked since 2015 – were flying at half-mast Monday in memory of her.
“Andrea was always generous with her time and talents, supporting many causes through her volunteer work,” reads a UNBC Facebook post.
“She will be missed by so many on our campuses and beyond.”
Johnson, who grew up on a farm in Consort, Alta., was also heavily involved with Rotary, both with the Prince George-Nechako chapter and before that in Quesnel.
Johnson was an avid outdoors enthusiast – from cross-country skiing to hiking and kayaking – and volunteered with Operation Red Nose, as well as many other Rotary-led volunteer projects.
She was also a big sports fan – especially when it came to her Edmonton Oilers – and for years after leaving the Semiahmoo Peninsula, would routinely check in with her former PAN colleagues in an effort to keep up with the local sports scene and the athletes, teams and coaches she had covered in her time at the paper.
“She was so talented, and a great friend,” said Roger Knox, a longtime reporter with the Vernon Morning Star, a sister paper to PAN.
– with files from Cassidy Dankochik