Edwin G. ("Duke") Johnson (Teacher)

Edwin G. (Duke) Johnson (Teacher)

Edwin G. Johnson, Ex-Teacher, Dead

Edwin G. Johnson, a retired Batavia High School history teacher, was found dead on May 5, 1975 in a trailer in Canandaigua in which he lived a “hermit-like” existence.

Reports from Canandaigua today,  however, discounted stories which indicated that Mr. Johnson had left a huge fortune, although final accountings may indicate that he had considerable savings bonds in banks.

Ontario County Surrogate’s Court is being asked to rule on writings which were found in the trailer naming on a percentage basis who should share in his estate, according to Canandaigua sources.

Although written on paper and found in the trailer, it was not certain that the handwriting would be construed or admitted to probate as a will. A cousin has been appointed administrator of the estate and a Canandaigua attorney is serving the estate.

Mr. Johnson came to Batavia in 1929 and taught for thirty years. He was a graduate of the University of Rochester and of Canandaigua Academy, that city’s high school..

Although Mr. Johnson’s age was given as 73, the records in the Board of Education office in Batavia listed him as born in 1904, which would have made him 71.

Because Mr. Johnson had apparently been dead for two days before he was found, his death was investigated by the Ontario County district attorney’s office before a ruling of natural causes was given. Mr. Johnson had lived downtown earlier and fought eviction attempts to take his home for the creation of a parking lot. He had been janitor at a church in recent years.

The trailer was reported considerably cluttered with articles and papers, through which authorities sifted and which have been cleared out by the estate.

Reports said possibly $5,000 in cash was in the trailer and that bonds in banks, representing the bulk of Mr. Johnson’s estate may reach more than $100,000, depending on final accountings.

Several cousins and a niece in Honeoye Falls are known to survive.

Retired teachers in the Batavia area who worked with Mr. Johnson during his days at the high school, now the Junior High School, recalled him as living frugally all his years here.

Whether there was mention of any of the Batavia schools or anyone in the Batavia region in the papers Mr. Johnson had drafted, and which were found in his trailer, could not be confirmed although one source believed this to be the case.

From the 1952 Batavian: