Carol Johnston, one of the founders and a director of Cherryleaf, passed away today.
It’s naturally terribly sad news. However, Carol had more than 40 years of life – a life to be celebrated.
Carol was naturally gifted. She studied Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and she was a very good pianist (she had studied at weekends as a child at the Royal Academy of Music). She also had a Post-Graduate teaching qualification.
Carol spent over 15 years working in the information design and technical documentation field, where she gained a reputation as an expert in XML, single sourcing and running documentation projects. She was also an accomplished trainer, developing many of Cherryleaf’s courses.
In October 2011, a change in the condition of her tumour meant she required another operation. Although the operation was successful, a few weeks later, Carol took a turn for the worse and she passed away on 22 January 2012.
It was a privilege to have known and worked with her. Carol was fundamental to the creation of our company and helped enormously with its progression over the years. She was also a friend.
Carol had first been diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was studying at Cambridge University. Although she was diagnosed with Grade 3 cancer (which means a 6 month life expectancy), she became what the doctors called ‘a statistical blip’; she had a successful chemotherapy course and an operation, which resulted in the tumour remaining benign for more than 20 years.
We first knew Carol when we were all working together at digitext. She didn’t hide her “blob”, as she called the tumour, and we soon came to realise that, if occasionally, she stopped talking or moving, then she was experiencing a mild epileptic fit. However, she did not make a great deal of her condition either – she made an extraordinary situation seem ordinary.
Carol was a strong supporter of the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust – the UK’s main charity dedicated to brain tumour research, information and support. She felt this was an area which didn’t get the attention and support of other cancer charities.
Our thoughts go out to her partner Dave and to her family. Carol, we miss you.
Ginny Critcher has also contributed her personal thoughts:
Carol taught me so much about many aspects of technical writing; not only was she very knowledgeable she was always extremely patient and helpful. She had the enviable knack of explaining things in a clear, understandable way and always with a sense of humour. She loved to solve technical problems and liked nothing better than being given a tricky problem to solve – which she inevitably did in half the time it would take the rest of us.
Carol had many talents, not least of these was her beautiful singing voice; she sang with the Thame Chamber choir and performed with the choir many times, her voice was truly inspiring to listen to.
Cherryleaf will not be the same without Carol, she will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege to work with her.