Peter Johnson, 57, lost his life-long battle with homosexuality last week.
His wife, Joan, remained diligently by his side until the last (straw. Bringing ‘Pablo’ into the family home broke the camel’s back.)
Aware of his family history (his Uncle Mark ran away with a vicar aged just 45), Peter checked himself regularly for signs of homosexuality. Unfortunately, he failed to notice common early warning signs such as an improved dress sense or a tendency to wear scarves in warm weather, and remained tragically unaware until he was diagnosed by a theatre director called Leslie in early 2010.
His battle with homosexuality was a long and protracted affair. Despite intense treatment – he went to several football matches with his son, and even attempted to watch Top Gear on numerous occasions- he was unable to prevent the homosexuality spreading. He attempted a wide range of alternative treatments, such as Megan Fox and Catholicism, but they failed to have any noticeable effect. Toward the end, he seemed resigned to his fate, and simply gave up fighting.
His wife Joan described how ‘he would often hide himself away in his upstairs bedroom, unable to face the world.’ On several occasions, she found him sitting in his wardrobe wearing only a dressing gown and refusing to move. ‘I would wait until he had calmed down, and could be gently coaxed out of the closet,’ she remembers.
His homosexuality never prevented him from doing what he loved; even in its most advanced stages, Peter still managed to attend various community events at Chumleigh village hall. Mrs Betty Haversham commented ‘ He never spoke about it himself. Tried to put a brave face on it, I expect. But everyone knew. Toward the end of summer, you could see it just by looking at him. I mean, I saw him at the Strawberry Fair, and I walked straight past him – I knew him all his life and I didn’t recognise him. Ravaged by it, he was.’
David Hallston, the esteemed geographer who attended the same boarding school as Peter and has battled homosexuality for much of his adult life, commented
‘Peter was a truly wonderful man, without a malicious bone in his body. He was kind, caring and considerate. Over the years, I was often touched by his sensitivity.’
His children, Samuel and Rebecca, will be completing a 10km run next month to raise money for Homosexual Relief. You are invited to give generously.