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Death notice - Rene Johnston wife of Sid Lorraine

Message from Joan Caesar

It was with great sadness that the magic world has lost another icon. Rene Johnston, wife of Sid Lorraine, passed away late Oct 31, 2009. She was born Irene Kathleen Annie Buttler on March 26, 1911 in Leystonstone, England, a suburb of London, England. From her earliest years she was interested in art. In her late teens she, having moved to Canada as a child, she began working as a commercial artist for Battens, a graphic arts and lithography firm in Toronto, Ontario. It was there she met Sid Johnston, the assistant art director of the company. They begin dating after work, ant took art classes together. They were married 3 years later on July 20, 1932.

Rene was aware of Sid's commitment to magic and that his stage name was Sid Lorraine (names after the Alsace Lorraine battle of World War 1)

During their early marriage, Rene became a freelance artist for Chatelaine magazine, Better Homes and Gardens and drew illustrations for Church of England publications.

During the 1938 IBM convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she met the very young Jay Marshall and was enthralled with his vent work even then. The couple often invited touring magicians such as Harry Blackstone Sr. home for a meal and 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 quickly became a great supporter of his love. "Sid was her best friend, her hero, her lover, her mentor and her sole mate." wrote her daughter, Ruth. For many years after Sid's death on Oct 15, 1989, Rene corresponded with magicians around the world. She had candour, wit, talent, amazing memory and a lust for life. She was loved by all who had the honour of knowing her and will be sorely missed.

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Copyright © 2009 Alan Watson.

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