Community in mourning following loss of Bud Johnston

Darrell Cole
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RIVER HEBERT - River Hebert is in mourning following the sudden death early Wednesday of the man behind Heritage Models.

RIVER HEBERT - River Hebert is in mourning following the sudden death early Wednesday of the man behind Heritage Models.

Reginald 'Bud' Johnston suffered a heart attack at his River Hebert residence just after midnight and later died at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre. He was 82.

"He's going to be sadly missed because he's done so much and meant so much to this community," area county councillor and longtime friend John Reid said. "He cared so much about his community and his models. His memory and his legacy will live on in the centre he put so much into over the years."

Born in River Hebert, Johnston was a member of the village's United Church and served as the fire chief for 25 years.

It was in his pastime that Johnston preserved the history of the River Hebert-Joggins and Cumberland County areas through the creation of miniatures of many of the former businesses and landmarks throughout the area.

Centre manager Jim Sicheri said he was talking to Johnston just the other day and was floored when he received a call early Wednesday about his death.

"He was a very well-liked person who everyone knew," Sicheri said. "He did so much to preserve the history of this area, that's what his models were all about, preserving history for future generations."

Sicheri and Reid credit Johnston with helping develop the tourism industry in the River Hebert-Joggins area through the centre and the creation of the area's development association in the early 1990s.

"It was from that, that a lot of projects were created that brought development and jobs to this area," Reid said. "When we were trying to figure out a way to house his models we never thought it would become as big as it did with its own museum. At the time the community was passionate about seeing that Bud's models were preserved."

Johnston recently completed the newest addition to the heritage centre, a model of the village's old telephone office, and had already begun work on this next project.

Johnston's remains have been cremated. There will be a public visitation at the River Hebert Funeral Home on Saturday with a memorial service at the United Church on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Organizations: United Church, Heritage Models, Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre River Hebert Funeral Home

Geographic location: RIVER HEBERT, Cumberland County

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Recent comments

  • Barbara
    January 18, 2010 - 11:05

    It shocked and saddened me last night to read of the passing of Bud. Being originally from River Hebert, I grew up with the original models, before it became Heritage Models, and always enjoyed seeing them on his front lawn (then behind his house) when we would visit our grandparent who lived near him. When I lived in River Hebert, I would take my kids for walks, and they always wanted to walk to the 'train' outside of Heritage Models and ring the bell.
    Bud brought the community alive through its history and caring for the people and places that he called home.
    My heartfelt sympathies go to his family and friends at this time.