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Nov  2003

A farewell to Helen Johnson

In October, Logging and Sawmilling Journal lost a valued friend and contributor with the passing away of Helen Johnson, Tech Update editor for the magazine. She died October 8, after a courageous 18-month fight against cancer.

Helen started work for Logging and Sawmilling Journal four years ago and quickly made her mark as a stickler for accuracy and clarity, both hallmarks of a good editor. She had the onerous task of assembling all the material for the Tech Update and Supplier Newsline sections in LSJ, working hard to ensure the information was as complete as possible. In addition to producing these regular columns, Helen also did the copy editing, and was instrumental in doing the research and the completed copy for a well-followed feature in the magazine, the lists of the top logging contractors in the provinces.

She spent quite a few early mornings and late nights tracking down contractors to gather and confirm information. She did this all with enthusiasm and good cheer, although the early morning calls were reinforced by cups of very strong coffee!

Helen came by her writing and editing career through a strong interest in reading as a youngster growing up in her hometown of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Later, Helen and her husband, Tom Burley, went to college in Ontario, Helen studying journalism and Tom studying photography. They spent long hours in the college newsroom putting the paper to bed, then relaxing at someoneís apartment or more likely, the pub, the latter a journalistic tradition.

Outside of Logging and Sawmilling Journal, Helen valued spending time with her family and friends, and was very involved with her church and community. Helen was active in the life of the congregation, and would always help, just quietly pitching in, as was her way in all areas of her busy and full life. It was clear from the comments at her memorial service that Helen was very much loved and respected, and that she made a difference. Helenís memorial service was held on October 14 at Lynn Valley United Church in North Vancouver, BC. The fact that it was a beautiful fall day reinforced the brightness, the warmth and the good humour that Helen brought into the lives of the people she worked with, and came into contact with.

We at Logging and Sawmilling Journal extend our heartfelt condolences to Helenís husband, Tom, and their two children, Greta and Nick. We will all miss Helen and her contribution to the world.

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