Skip to main content

Father Emmett Johns, known as ‘Pops’ in Montreal, smiles at the end of a ceremony where he was decorated with the Ordre National du Quebec as a Grand Officer, on Oct. 28, 2003.JACQUES BOISSINOT/The Canadian Press

A Montreal man known affectionately as "Pops" and who founded an organization that helps the homeless has died at the age of 89.

The group, called "Dans La Rue," says Emmett Johns died overnight Saturday night.

Johns, who was born in Montreal in April 1928, wanted to be a missionary in his youth.

He was a priest for several years and served as chaplain at the Douglas Hospital, a psychiatric institution.

In 1988, he founded "Le Bon Dieu dans la rue," which eventually became "Dans La Rue."

He was named to the Order of Canada in 1999.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante took to Twitter to praise Johns.

"I am sad to hear about Pops' death," Plante said. "A Montreal giant... has just left us.

"My thoughts are with his family and friends and all those he helped over the years. Thanks for everything."

Interact with The Globe