Deceased December 15, 2011

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In Memory

Vivian Johnson Jr. ’04 passed away Dec. 15, 2011, after a courageous battle with cancer. Friends remember Vivian for his intelligence, his kindness, his loyalty, his faith and his absolute joy for life.

Vivian, affectionately known to his friends at Viv, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to Vivian Johnson Sr. and Janet Johnson. He attended the prestigious Campion College in Jamaica and was a standout student and leader who captained their soccer team. After graduating from Campion, Vivian then attended the Northfield Mount-Hermon School for a post-graduate year where he earned All-New England recognition as a soccer player before gaining admission to Amherst.

At Amherst, Vivian continued to be a standout student as well as a leader on campus. Naturally inquisitive and hardworking, Vivian double majored in Economics and History and took incredible advantage of all that the Amherst College experience provides. Socially, he was part of many close circles of friends around campus and was broadly connected within the Amherst community.

Vivian was a natural athlete and during his time with the Amherst soccer team the Jeffs progressed to the NESCAC tournament every year and, in 2002, even progressed to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. While at Amherst, Vivian received a call-up to train with the Jamaican National Team and while he was not able to earn a permanent position with the team, representing his country was an honor of which he was particularly proud.

Soon after graduation, Vivian moved to the Toronto area and began working for Scotiabank. He was highly successful with Scotiabank, where his work ethic, kindness and curiosity won over colleagues and earned him the respect of his superiors. He loved his work and found Toronto to be a wonderful city. After a few years there, he purchased a home in order to establish roots. While Vivian loved his work, he also loved helping others and he was always looking for ways in which he could make a larger and more positive impact in the world. It is clear that in his tragically short life, the impact that Vivian made upon all who knew him was immensely positive.

Vivian’s funeral was Dec. 23, 2011, at the Brampton Memorial Chapel in Brampton, Ontario. He is survived by his parents, his brothers Amari and Javaughn, and he is greatly missed by his Amherst friends and his former teammates. He lives on in our memories.


Dear Johnson Family,

I’m sorry that this message is finding its way to you so late. Since Viv passed away, not a day has gone by in which he hasn’t crossed my mind.  He was someone very special to me, always eager to share, and engage with, ideas about how to create a more equal society, and who often encouraged me to pursue my passions and to maintain an openness of mind and tenderness of heart in the process.

Viv has gone much too soon.  But I’ll never forget him sharing with me some of the principles that sat at the very core of his life:

“You see, Amanda, we are on the same page in that we both have the same yearning for social justice…I love your springiness, piercing sharpness, and seething emotion, your boldness, fortitude, and forcefulness in expressing your views. I would advise you not to change this about yourself, not to submit to anyone else’s view of how you should be.” –Viv, May 2011

These words, and his life itself, have touched my own in a very special way and will forever leave an imprint on my heart.

Please accept my sincere condolences and know that my prayers will be with you all.


Amanda Bass, with help from my good friend J. Celso Castro Alves, who has known Viv through me and who “at this moment embraces Viv’s parents and brothers, in whose hearts he will forever reside, and whose lives will continue to inspire others in anticipation of a reencounter.”