COOPERSTOWN—James Andrews Melrose Johnston, Jamie to family and friends, crossed the bar on November 14, 2022, following a prolonged battle with multiple ailments. He was 68.
Born on December 20, 1953, in New Haven, Connecticut, into a family of educators, naturalists, poets, historians, sailors and adventurers, Jamie never missed an opportunity to gleefully embrace novel experiences, such as when, as a toddler, he astonished his mother when she removed his rain hat in a New Haven store only to find a mouse cheerfully nestling in his hair.
I loved all flora and fauna as a child, I had no favorites.
I was young, a pre-teen just wanting to go out of the house to see what I could discover. I’d sneak out of the house just as the sun cast its warmth on the land in the early morning and head for the woods, snooping for hidden mammals, birds, amphibians, and insects. Finding a nest of some gamebird or songbird made my day. Coming across a fox den or tripping over a young fawn was always exciting for a 10-year old.
It was a great upbringing, in part for the differences between habitats I encountered in Cooperstown and in New Haven, Connecticut. Each was unique; New Haven more urban and gentile, Cooperstown with more working farmland. But with all the time I spent in the woods, the more I liked both. Each day was an adventure that went through constant changes thanks to weather and the seasons.