Mark Johnson
1956 - 2017

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The death of Mark Johnson on 25 August 2017 at the age of only 61 was a shock to his family, friends and former colleagues. He was a school master and church musician - singer and organist - until his retirement in 2016.

Mark Johnson was born on 30 September 1956 to Howard and Patricia Johnson and was the elder of two brothers.

He was a pupil at Doncaster Grammar School and began his musical training as a chorister at Doncaster Parish Church, where he took organ lessons from the organist, Magnus Black, on the magnificent 1862 Schulze instrument.

He graduated from the London College of Music and further studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with tuition from Kevin Smith and James Bowman. During this period he was a lay-clerk at Southwark (Anglican) Cathedral in London under Dr Harry Bramma.

Mark qualified as a teacher in Liverpool where he was a choral scholar in the Metropolitan Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King under the director of music Philip Duffy. This must have been his first exposure to the Roman Catholic faith, its music and liturgy, and this was to re-surface some years later.

Mark Johnson was a school master for most of his career and in London an early appointment was at Archbishop Tenison’s school at the Oval. His first major appointment followed as head of music at St Joseph's College in Upper Norwood where he was responsible for the music in the College. This appointment lasted for many years but, eventually, the increasing requirements for paperwork and administration in the educational system – which Mark and many others felt was at the expense of the job of educating the pupils – meant that he eventually left the post and for a period he turned to supply and peripatetic teaching.

The remuneration was insufficient to keep body and soul together and so a full time appointment at Tunbridge Grammar School for Boys followed. The daily commute was onerous and eventually the prospect of early retirement was attractive.

Mark’s move from South London to Ollerton in North Nottinghamshire seemed a perfect ‘escape to the country’ and those friends who visited were impressed by his integration into the local community and his plans for developing the garden.

Mark Johnson 30 September 1956 – 27 August 2017 RIP

Alistair Dixon, November 2018