Ron Southern, business and equestrian magnate, dies at 85
Alberta business magnate and Spruce Meadows co-founder Ron Southern has died at age 85.
The Calgary equestrian facility and the companies he built announced Southern’s death Thursday.
Southern and his father S.D. started the Alberta Trailer Company in 1947 with 15 trailers. It became the ATCO Group (TSX:ACO.X), a Calgary-based conglomerate with interests ranging from construction trailers to pipelines to natural gas distribution.
ATCO now has operations in more than 100 countries, 8,000 employees and $19 billion in assets. Ron Southern served as the company’s president for 48 years. Southern was also the founder and controlling shareholder of Akita Drilling. Forbes pegged Southern’s net worth at $1.55 billion last year.
Southern and his wife Margaret purchased Copithorne Ranch south of Calgary with a vision of establishing an equestrian facility. Spruce Meadows opened its doors in 1975 and hosted its first tournament the following year. It has become a fixture for the world’s best riders and horses with 300 events held there annually.