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November 9, 2021
Eric H. Johnson, long-time resident of Lake Laberge, passed away at the age of 73 on November 9, 2021.
Eric came to Canada from his native California in the early 1970's. After obtaining a Masters degree in geology from the University of Calgary, he found his niche in the Yukon. As a young man, he worked for various mining companies and the federal government. Some early success as a prospector allowed him to take over a trap-line in the Smart River area and the cabin on a small island in Lake Laberge that would be his home for the next forty years.
Though a sociable man, he was always drawn to solitary pursuits, working on a set of hardrock claims near Jake's corner, trapping and always returning to what is known locally as Eric's Island. He went back to California in the early 2000's to be with his ailing mother and stayed on for some years, living on a sailboat moored in San Francisco Bay. But eventually his Island called him home and he lived there quietly without electricity, communication or running water, even returning to that life after open heart surgery in about 2016.
His many books, always purchased second-hand, and the wide open sky were his silent companions and during open water season his soundscape was the constant lapping or roaring of the lake and the clamour of gulls and eagles. He had been taking a pre-winter respite in a Whitehorse motel when he passed away.
Eric will be buried with a brief service in Grey Mountain cemetery at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, November 25, 2021.

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