Tributes after sudden death of businessman

A RENOWNED Morpeth businessman has been praised for his contribution to the town after dying suddenly at work.

Louis Johnson was found dead at 9am last Thursday by a colleague.

He arrived earlier that morning at Oswald House in Bridge Street.

The 83-year-old, who built up his own successful firm that covered Morpeth and Ashington among other places in the 1960s and 70s, was known for being a hard worker and very passionate about his job.

Even after selling it, he built up another company and today the business that bears his name is a combination of auctioneers, chartered surveyors, property valuers, estate agents and property letting managers.

The auction house often has unusual and historic items for sale as well as collections from all over the North East.

Fellow Morpeth estate agent Charles Robinson, who is Vice Chairman of the town’s Chamber of Trade, said: “It was very much the case that his life was his work and he led from the front.

“He built up an immensely successful business that was certainly a major regional player in the market and when he sold it on he decided to start again and put a lot of effort into establishing his new venture.

“My abiding memory of Louis was seeing him immaculately dressed in a pin striped suit with half-mooned glasses watering the hay racks either side of the front door.

“He will be a big miss in the life of the business community in Morpeth and our thoughts go to his partner, Janet Vardy, and loyal staff.”

Mr Johnson lived with his long-term partner in Mitford Road. He was involved with local Round Table and Rotary organisations during his life.

Marjorie Donkin, a friend of his since childhood, recalled that Mr Johnson was a member of a motorbike club in Ashington and did his National Service.

“Louis was a go-ahead man with a lovely personality,” she added.

“He was very devoted to his business and had no intention of giving up any time soon.”