Ron South­ern, busi­ness and eques­trian mag­nate, dies at 85

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OBITUARIES - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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.

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