A TRIBUTE TO JEAN JOHNSON
(written by Daphne Negus)
It is well known that the first Korats imported for breeding purposes came to Jean L. Johnson in mid-1959. Nara and Darra, brother and sister were sent to Jean by her friend, Mrs. Kirrage, who knew how greatly Jean had admired the Korat cats she had encountered during her stay in Thailand seven years before.
I find it terribly hard to write this. Jean was our leader. She had enormous fortitude and resolve. She was always there and it's difficul to accept her passing.
It was a few years before the Korat Cat Fanciers' Association was formed. That was in 1965. Our group of founders bolstered Jean's brave endeavors over the intervening years.
The founders - Jean L. Johnson, Jean Clark, Gail (Lenkenau) Woodward, Bertha M. Nuttall, Gertrude (Gecking) Sellars, Doris Gardner, Isobel M? Hutchinson, Jeanne Duncan and I formed a cohesive goup. We set about getting recognition from the registering bodies (nine of them at that time) so our Korats could compete in championship classes. This was amove that did not at first meet with Jean's compliance. She wrote us that it would not make the Korat one whit nicer a cat. Most of the group wanted to go that route and Jean let herself be persuaded that it would be best for the Korats to be seen by show-goers, and their beauty enjoyed by cat fanciers all over the world.
I first met Jean at Gails Lankenau's home in Northern California. Gail had come home from Bangkok with Majahaya Dok Rak of Gala, from Mme.R. A. Rajamaitri, the breeder of the brother and sister sent to Jean by Mrs. Kirrage. Gail also had Dok Rak's mate, lovingly called "Grubble Gus" by Gail, a sturdy male born in Cholburi, South of Bangkok.
There is a picture in the 1967 CFA Yearbook of the three of us, with Dok Rak sitting on Gail's lap. Later, Richard and I went to Oregon taking with us Si Sawat's See-Sip-Hah for breeding and showing in the Portland show that week-end. Our next meeting was at our home in Los Angeles when Jean Johnson and JeanneDuncan brought a female to be bred with a male of Doris Gardner's.
It is well known that the original standard was compiled by Doris and Ray Gardner and me, using suggestions from the then 26 members of KCFA. Among Jean's contribution was the "lion-like downward curve" for the nose description that has endured to this day throughout the many ammendments effected over the years. I remember Jean as a woman of great courage and am glad I had the chance to know her and work with her on the development of the Korats, the love of which inspired our relationship.
Thank you Joyce, for letting me know she's gone - I still cannot believe it. Her name will live for ever in the minds of all who study Korat history.
Si Sawat Cattery - USA