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Southern, Ron

July 25, 1930 – January 21, 2016

It is with sadness we announce the passing of Ron Southern on January 21st in Calgary. He lived an extraordinary life building and accomplishing what very few can dream of.

He is survived by his loving wife Margaret (nee Visser) and his two daughters whom he adored; Nancy (Jonathan Asselin) and Linda (Tom Heathcott) and grandchildren Kelly Koss-Brix (Brian), Kyle Koss, Ben Asselin, Patrick Heathcott, Ronald Heathcott and Charlie Heathcott. Ron is also survived by a number of nieces, nephews and cousins. Born Ronald Donald Southern on July 25, 1930 in Calgary, Alberta, Ron was predeceased by his parents Ina and Donald Southern.

Ron lived in Calgary but traveled the world extensively his entire adult life. He was a proud Canadian and loved his Alberta roots. As a young man he was a gifted athlete who loved sports and played hockey, football and basketball.

Ron left Calgary after graduating from Crescent Heights High School to attend the University of Alberta. He completed his Bachelor of Science from the Faculty of Medicine in 1953.

While still in high school, he founded Alberta Trailer Co. in 1947 with his father Samuel Donald. Starting with five people the enterprise today – ATCO Group – has grown to more than 8,000 employees worldwide.

Ron was a self-made businessman who became a respected giant of Canadian commerce. His success included gas and electrical utility companies, midstream, drilling, pipelines, logistics, manufacturing, workforce housing sales, leasing, maintenance and operations.

ATCO Ltd. and Canadian Utilities Limited, which ATCO acquired and repatriated in 1980, have done business in more than 100 countries around the world primarily through its Structures and Logistics businesses that provide workforce housing and other infrastructure solutions. The firms’ utilities businesses operate in Canada, Australia the United Kingdom, and Mexico.

Ron and his wife Margaret of sixty-one years were the vision and driving force behind the creation, construction and operations of Spruce Meadows, which is widely recognized as the leading show jumping facility in the world. Since opening in 1975, Spruce Meadows has hosted athletes from more than 60 nations and attracted 10.2 million fans.

In addition to acting as Chairman of the Board of ATCO, Canadian Utilities and AKITA Drilling Ltd. for decades, Ron actively enjoyed his time on the Boards of Directors of a number of Canada’s most prestigious companies including: Canadian Pacific Limited, Chrysler Canada, Imasco, Lafarge Canada, Royal and Sun Alliance (RSA), Trimac, Pacific Western Airlines, Canadian Pacific Airlines, Canadian Airlines, Xerox Canada, Mercantile Bank, Canadian Export Development Corporation, Southam Inc., Crown Zellerback, and Fletcher Challenge.

Numerous awards were bestowed upon Ron for his remarkable efforts, achievements and contributions including: Companion of the Order of Canada 2007, Alberta Order of Excellence 2012, The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal 2002, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012 and The Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service 2013.

A lifelong sportsman, Ron was recognized as the Calgary Booster Club Sportsman of the Year in 1986. He was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, and the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

In 2013 he was named honourary chief of the Tsuu T’ina Nation and given the name Chief Sorrel Horse.

Ron was also recognized as an Internationalist. In 1990 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II bestowed on him a member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to Anglo – Canadian relations and in 1995 he was promoted to the level of Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands inducted him into the Order of Orange-Nassau in 2006 and honored him with the Holland Trade Award in 1985 in recognition of his substantial contributions to the Dutch Foreign economic relations.

Ron received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Alberta in 1991 and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary in 1976.

In 2007 he was inducted into the Canadian Manufacturing Hall of Fame. In 1996 Ron was recognized by the Financial Post as the CEO of the Year in Canada. In 1990 the University of Manitoba recognized him as the International Distinguished Entrepreneur and in 1986 the University of Alberta recognized Ron as the Businessman of the Year.

Ron traveled the world and met most of the business leaders in those countries as well as many of the political leaders of the 20th century. He took a great interest in the people and the cultures where he visited and his vast memory could recall the most extraordinary details. He cherished his many years on the Trilateral Commission.

He valued education, reading newspapers, and loved books. Most weeks he would devour at least two or three on a variety of subjects from military biographies and autobiographies to mysteries, outer space, national and international leaders, but his greatest reading enjoyment and inspiration came from books by and about Winston Churchill. He collected these and never tired of Winston Churchill quotations, speeches and proclamations.

Ron was a proud Royalist and was delighted when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II came to Spruce Meadows in 1990 to inaugurate the Queen Elizabeth II Cup. This spawned a relationship that took Ron to Buckingham Palace on numerous occasions as a guest. At various times it allowed for the opportunity to introduce his daughters and grandchildren to Her Majesty.

Ron lived a life full of adventure. He was loved, respected and admired by many and will be in our hearts forever.

The family would like to give special heartfelt thanks to Dr. Barry Baylis and Loralee Baylis for their excellent care and compassion over the last few years. Most sincere thanks as well are extended to Marites Avila, David Hamilton and Doug Weitz for their expert care and committed service to Ron.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at Spruce Meadows, 18011 Spruce Meadows Way S.W., Calgary. In lieu of flowers, if friends so desire, donations will be gratefully received by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Mr. David Prowten, President and C.E.O, 2550 Victoria Park Avenue, Suite 800, Toronto, Ontario, M2J 5A9. Or, alternatively, contributions can be gratefully made to the Spruce Meadows Beautification Fund, c/o Spruce Meadows, R.R. #9, Calgary, Alberta, T2J 5G5. Donations to both can also be made online at www.sprucemeadows.com/memorial.

Those wishing to pay their respects can also do so at McInnis & Holloway (Park Memorial), 5008 Elbow Drive S.W., Calgary on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.

Offer Condolence for the family of Southern, Ron

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Condolence Messages

  1. Such a huge loss to a sad and troubled world.. I had the privilege of working at Spruce Meadows in 1979..and hence had many delightful conversations with Mr and Mrs Southern. What an example he set to the rst of the world..truly a gentleman…RIP Ron

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  2. Gwyn Morgan and Pat Trottier :

    Dear Marg, Nancy and Linda;
    We are deeply saddened to hear of our friend Ron’s passing. Ron was a one of the greatest of great Canadians, with a rare combination of extraordinary achievement and humility. His story is your story in which to take great pride. We take comfort in knowing that his legacy is in loving and capable hands.

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  3. Christiaan Hendriksen CH de Wolden :

    My sincere condolences to the Southern family for the passing of Mr Southern

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  4. Condolences to the Southern Families in their great loss.

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  5. The Beunder Family (Kristi, Norm, Meagan and Kathryn) :

    Thank you Mr. Southern for your gift to this Province and this City in Spruce Meadows. Thank you Mr. Southern for your support of junior and amateur sport and providing the opportunity to cultivate the next great champion of sport for Canada in Canada. Thank you for the lessons you taught us when working to protect Spruce Meadows place amongst an ever expanding urban neighbour. Your legacy is one of greatness, philanthropy and kindness. Long will remain Camelot in all its splendour for anyone to enjoy anytime, as you intended.

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  6. Robyn Duplisea :

    I am so very sorry for your loss.
    Ron and your family have given so much to all of us through Spruce Meadows and the many business ventures including ATCO for whom my husband now works.
    Ron was a great businessman, an incredible visionary, a devoted family man and a visionary. He will be missed.
    I only met Ron personally a few times and he was always gracious, generous and inspiring. One of those few times has stuck with me through out my life. As a High School student we had a project to do our “dream career” for a day. I was lucky enough to start my day with Jonathan actually back when he rode out of Black Diamond Land and Cattle in Millarville and then we spent the second half of the day at Spruce. We got to muck stalls, turn horses out, feed and even have a lesson with Albert. Ron took the time to come and meet us, and I never forgot his words – “If you really want to ride great horses than continue your education, work hard and someday you will be able to support your own dream of riding this level of horse”
    Everyone else had basically said “marry a wealthy man” or “become a trainer” but not Ron. He saw the potential to be successful in life, not just horses.
    Thank you for sharing him with all of us through the years. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    ~Robyn Duplisea

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  7. Debbie Walker :

    Ron left a positive impact on my life that I will never forget when he invited me and my guest to Spruce Meadows. I brought my mom to the 2010 North American tournament and, as life would have it, this was our last trip together before she passed away in 2011. That trip became a very precious memory thanks to Ron’s generosity to us, two fans of Spruce Meadows. I am truly saddened by his passing; he was larger than life for sure.

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  8. David Wong (Beijing) :

    My condolences to Mrs. Southern, Nancy, Linda and the thousands of Atco Group and Spruce Meadows employees. If you ever meet an Atco or Spruce Meadows employee, you will realize how great Mr. Southern was from the warmth of their description. Being associated with Mr. Southern or RD was like being in the family.

    I had the privilege of knowing Mr. Southern during his travels to China since 2000 and remember him attending a reception at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. He was approached by many Canadian businessmen attending the same event that evening who showered him with accolades and compliments which he humbly turned aside. I also noticed that when he spoke to anyone, he paid special attention and focused on the conversation, he really cared.

    We should also remember that RD became what he was with the help and support of Marg. She is a great person and was an important part of this legacy.

    Rest in Peace and prayers to family and friends.

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  9. Cindy Wilinskk :

    Never have I witnessed a life more lived. What a remarkable man and amazing legacy. My condolences to the Southern family and all of Alberta for their loss.

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  10. Jackie Ainslie :

    Never had the honour of visiting Spruce Meadows, ( my mother did) from Halifax, Nova Scotia, but watched many show jumping competitions from this facility! Such an accomplished Canadian Icon!
    Condolences to the Southern family on your loss!

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  11. John W. Moules :

    Sincere condolences to Margaret and family. Ron Southern, no finer, warmer gentleman, a noble Albertan, a world citizen. Blessings. Rev. John W. Moules

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  12. Karen Sebesta :

    It was an honour to know Mr Southern and help showcase the beautiful Spruce Meadows venue to Canadians. His passion and commitment were remarkable. I feel very lucky to have been able spend time here. His legacy will certainly live on through those he inspired around him.
    My thoughts and prayers are with the family and staff during this sad time.
    Sincerely, Karen Sebesta – Sr. Producer CBC Sports

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  13. Colleen Thomson :

    My thoughts and prayers go to you Marg.. Nancy …Linda .. and the rest of the family!!!…. I will always have fond memories of the Christmases we all had in Maui!!! He was a true gentleman through and through and will be missed by us all!!!
    Love to you all at this time and always
    Colleen Thomson(Byron,JohnEric,Lyn,Jenny)… and my mom Sherrie Parker

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  14. Richard Bakke :

    The Bakke Family
    Our deepest condolences and prayers to the Southern family. Ron was a great man respected worldwide. An icon in the oil and gas industry. It was your pleasure to have called him friend.
    Richard Bakke

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  15. Muriel Knowler :

    I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Southern, R.D.. I had the pleasure of working with the Southerns and inspired employees at Spruce Meadows for a few years in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Mr. Southern expected nothing short of excellence and he was deeply committed to his Spruce Meadows and family. My years under his direction taught me to dream, to be a visionary in my own world and have inspired me to strive for excellence in all I do. I will be forever grateful. He will be deeply missed my many.

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  16. My sincerest condolences to the families. Mr. Southern was an Icon I will never forget.

    I remember attending the first horse show at Spruce Meadows in 1975, and watching it grow from there.

    As a rider, it was always a joy to receive a prize from Mr. Southern.

    He will be missed but never forgotten.

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  17. Ron, you were my first sports assignment on arriving in Calgary back in 1975 as a young sports announcer.that meeting spurned a friendship of 41 years..so proud and privileged to be your friend. I know you’ll join Albert and continue your passion for the horse..R.I.P.

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  18. Michael and Charmian Rayfield :

    We have known Ron, Marg, Nancy and Linda for thirty three years. Ron was a giant in every respect. In Ron we had all the personal values anyone would wish for. Integrity, loyalty in the extreme, passion for hard work and excellence, ambition, nothing was beyond the reach of those who wanted success and most important was Ron’s love of family.
    That’s how Ron conducted his life.
    Ron, dear friend, we will miss you. Rest in peace.

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  19. Claudia Cisterna :

    May care and love of those around you provide comfort and peace to get you through the days ahead. My most sincere condolences.
    I want to express my gratitude for providing us all with such a great place. One of my all times favorite.

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  20. My sincerest condolences to Mrs. Southern, Nancy, Linda and the families. Mr Southern was a great Person and a fantastic Horseman. My thoughts and prayers are with the Family. Dear Mr. Southern, I will miss you, rest in peace.

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  21. Desiree Johnson :

    Mr southern
    For anyone to have half of your lifetime achievements and accolades would be proud
    For me my first trip to Spruce Meadows more than 35 years ago I was awestruck
    I gained goals drive and a new perspective of my sport
    I wanted to compete in “that ring”
    I was 13 …… and you knew my name
    In following years your riders meetings to this day I still recall, they were inspiring you taught us to respect our sport ,our sponsors and ourselves
    You lead by example, you showed us what it is to be great you dared us to dream.
    As Canadians you put us on the map you give us somewhere to compete against the best in the world and strive for greatness
    You’ve left us Marg your amazing daughters with Linda and Nancy wonderful grandchildren to carry on your legacy that we are grateful for.
    You will always be missed , but never forgotten
    Sincerely
    Desiree Johnson

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  22. Descanse en Paz, rest in peace. Honoured to met him and admirer of a great friend and sportsman. My prayers to him and all the Southern family.

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  23. Bill Laureshen :

    I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Marg, Nancy, and Linda on the occasion of Ron’s passing. He was a long time friend and an admired athlete from our days at Crescent Heights High School and at the University of Alberta. We enjoyed many good times together in our younger days which I will cherish forever. God speed, old friend.

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  24. Prof. Dr.h.c.(SSU-RUS) Hans Jürgen Stümpel :

    Prof. Dr.h.c.(SSU-RUS) Hans Juergen Stuempel
    und Ehefrau Christel Mueller-Stuempel
    REITERLADEN DEUTSCHE EICHE GIFHORN / Niedersachsen

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  25. Tom Di Francesco :

    My deepest sympathies to the Southern families for your loss. I feel honored working for your company.

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  26. Dave and Linda sinclair :

    Mrs Southern, Nancy, Linda, families and employees of ATCO. So sorry for you loss. RD was an incredible man who accomplished incredible things. He loved his family and he loved ATCO, I’m proud to call him my friend.

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  27. Cynthia Carlisle :

    This was a great man. He walked the walk and talked the talk. He was intelligent, determined, visionary, sensitive, generous and a true fighter. Those many many of us who were lucky enough to get a glimpse into all he did for the people around him and for the sport, and the spirit with which he did it, will miss him. I can only imagine the enormous vacuum that his going has left for his wonderful family. God speed Ron!!!

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  28. Verna McGuigan :

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Marg, Nancy, Linda and all who knew this incredible man. Ron, you meant so much to so many and have brought so much to so many lives in your years here on earth, it was a honor to have known you. May you Rest In Peace, you and Albert can watch over your beloved Spruce Meadows and your family……..Gone, but never will you be forgotten!

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  29. My sincere condolences to Magaret, Nancy and Linda for the passing of Mr Southern. It is a big loss for the family and all the people he knew. Thank you for the wonderful time I had with you, rest in peace.

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  30. Julia williams :

    Rest In Peace Mr Southern .Gone, but never will you be forgotten!

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  31. Beverley and Terry Wald :

    Mrs. Southern, Nancy, Linda, and families,
    Please accept our sincere condolences on your loss. The world has lost someone very special.

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  32. Peter & Terry Hurst. :

    Our deepest sympathy to Marg Southern and Family on the loss of RD he will be greatly missed by all the Spruce Meadows family. It is indeed an sad time for Spruce Meadows.

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  33. Chris and Whitney Sorensen :

    What an unbelievable man and what unbelievable accomplishments! We are all truly saddened by the loss of Mr. Southern. However, we believe it is fair to say his legacy and accomplishments of which he spent his lifetime achieving will live on strongly!

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  34. Doug and Barbara Baldwin :

    Dear Marg, Linda and Nancy,

    It was with sadness when we heard of Ron’s passing. During our Imperial Oil days, we both enjoyed
    our comradery with both of you so much at Spruce Meadows. We always remarked on your friendliness and “common touch”, which will never be forgotten. Our sincere sympathy in your loss.

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  35. Lynde Atkinson Myers :

    I grew up in the sixties with Ron and Marg and My dear friend Nancy! I used to go to Sunshine skiing with you!
    I have incredibly fond memories of the the love in your family! I moved to the USA then Africa and have lost touch .Blessings for all of you and your incredible life together!
    Lynde Atkinson Myers

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  36. Marilyn Powell :

    What a marvellous life Mr. Southern led, and what an amazing legacy he leaves! Sincere condolences to the Southern Family, and Spruce Meadows, on the passing of patriarch Ron Southern. He was a true visionary and supporter of the horse industry.

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  37. May a horse always be nickering over your shoulder, and may you continue to hear the strains and fingers snapping to King of the Road. You will never truly be gone, as you left us so much. Rest well, as it is well deserved. Thank you, Ron, for leaving such a grand legacy. You truly were a mover and a shaker, and we are all the better for it.

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  38. Dr Stéphane Montavon, DVM :

    In the name of the Swiss Team, all our sympathy and gratitude to the entire family of Mr Ron Southern, We will for ever recognize and tell further on to next generations how clever, generous and brilliant Ron Southern was….the show jumping world is deeply grateful to what Ron Southern and his family realizes at Spruce Meadows! Could this example shows us how we have to act in order to keep the sport going on….Dr Stéphane Montavon, DVM and chef d’équipe

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  39. Jessica Anne Bogart :

    Dear Marg, Nancy and Linda;

    “Charm Bracelet” and I competed at Spruce Meadows in the 80’s. I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Southern back then, and I had the privilege of sharing a piece of his birthday cake this past summer in July 2015. Ron Southern has done so much for the city of Calgary as a whole, and so much for International Show Jumping in Canada. Never to be forgotten…Spruce Meadows is truly an exceptional place in the world!
    Sincerely,

    Jessica Anne Bogart ( formally Jessica Bennett)

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  40. Spruce Meadows changed the level of competition and what it means to be a Show Jumper. The vision of Ron and Mrs Southern to ” build it and they will come” and the world arrives in Calgary year after year for the BEST sporting events in the world.
    Thoughts & prayers to the Southern family.

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  41. Bill & Dorothy Horton :

    Marg, Nancy & Family, Linda & Family we are deeply saddened to hear of Ron’s passing. We have cherished memories of Ron and your loving caring family.
    Bil & I have always had so much respect for your Family and your many accomplishments.
    Our thoughts and our Prayers are with all of you.

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  42. Carolina Fleury :

    We are very sad to hear about the passing of Mr. Southern. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Our sincere condolences.
    Carolina and Darcy Fleury
    Winnipeg, MB

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  43. My sincere condolences to the Southern Family
    Thanks to Ron Southern everyone can go to Spruce Meadows to watch the Show Jumping and enjoy this beautiful place. I truly thank Mr. Southern for being so kind and thoughtful to let us ordinary people go to Spruce Meadows. I absolutely LOVE SPRUCE MEADOWS.

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  44. John Tignanelli :

    Condolences to the Southern Families on their great loss.

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  45. Beverlee Laidlaw Chasse :

    Marge, Nancy, Linda and Families
    You have all been so special to us and we are so saddened to learn about Ron’s passing.
    Excellence definitely describes how Ron lived his life, actually how all of you live your lives. I have such fond memories of so many really fun (belly laughing) experiences our families have had together through the years.
    Ron will be greatly missed, but I am sure that he will be with you, orchestrating and overseeing from on high. He has left a great legacy and it is being passed along to very exceptional hands.
    I will not be able to come to Calgary for the funeral but Mom and Dad will be there and I am sending a big Arizona hug your way with them.
    My family sends you tons of love and compassion,
    Beverlee (Laidlaw) Chasse, Michael, Brandon, Hunter & Mack

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  46. Mary Macdonald (Retreads basketball team) :

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

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  47. Brian and Debbie Stahl :

    A great Canadian icon, and inspiration to all. Our sincere sympathy to the Southern family.

    Brian and Debbie Stahl

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  48. I have many cherished memories of Ron and my contacts with him over the years at Spruce Meadows and elsewhere. I remember seeing him pacing the grounds in the early years as he planned new projects and then returning a year later to see what had come to fruition. Watching Spruce Meadows grow and talking to Ron as that happened was very inspirational.

    I experience his mantra about “excellence” with every visit to Spruce Meadows, but not only that, Ron was able to make everyone feel welcome; even the Sunday fan sitting on the grass was treated as an honored guest. In recent years Ron has not been so much a part of the breeder’s functions and after show parties, as in the early years, nevertheless his imprint of good friendship, good fun and zest for the sport and love of the Hanoverian horse is still there.

    His accomplishments are many and his awards well deserved, however what stands out for me is his down to earth and open nature. He was accessible and attentive to all that wanted to talk and so willing to share his thoughts, ideas and experience. Few people have had such a profound influence on the lives of so many. I count myself fortunate to be among those who knew and were influenced by this great man.

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  49. As a 2010 Spruce Meadows Name the Foal contest winner, my husband and I wish to send our deepest sympathy to the Southern family. Words cannot express the royal treatment we received during the three days we were honoured as guests of Spruce Meadows. We were totally in awe of Mr. Southern’s humility and amazing accomplishments. A man who will be deeply missed by his family and all Calgarians.
    Dianne and Gil Lesage (Langton, Ontario)
    “When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure”

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  50. Dan Gallagher and Darlene Schwab :

    A privilege and an honour to have known Ron. Ron was a great man with a great legacy. Few people have touched and been as important to their community, province and country as Ron was. Condolences to the family on this great loss.

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  51. Dave and Sandy Mowat :

    Linda, Nancy, Marg and your entire family

    Sandy and I felt a loss when we heard of Ron’s passing. While one can get ready for things like this, the reality if it happening take your breath away. We have many fond memories of Ron and your entire family that will stay with us forever. I think I was always a bit afraid if him (…would he catch me on my blackberry in a meeting – LOL) but the loyalty and fairness he ran his life by gave no reason to be – it must have just been the image of such an impressive man.
    Our thoughts are most certainly with you.

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  52. I’m so sad to hear of Ron passing away. My sincere condolences go out to your whole family.
    Derek Boon

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  53. Angelina Naimi :

    My deepest sympathies to the Southern family for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  54. Spruce Meadows Prairie Dogs :

    The Spruce Meadows Prairie Dogs (past and present members) offer our sincere condolences to the Southern Family and Spruce Meadows. Ron Southern‎ is the sole reason we began our group all those years ago (1988). His vision and passion for promoting from within the region make so many of us feel so very fortunate to be part of the Spruce Meadows family. We are truly honored and grateful to have known Ron. We will continue to strive for excellence in all we do.

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  55. Jody, Saphron and Sam Skinner :

    Our sincere condolences to the Southern Family.
    I first met Mr. Southern at my first exhibit, at the Spruce Meadows Masters 22 years ago; Ron and Marge walked through and met and shook every exhibtor’s hand and welcomed them to the show! A fine example of “making a special effort to do more”. Through my family’s passion for horses we have spent many hours at Spruce Meadows where ” maintianing the highest of standards, looking after the smallest detail and going the extra mile” is everywhere. How lucky we are as Calgarians that Mr. Southern and his family have applied their vision of excellence to the world of show jumping! An incredible life, a legacy that will never be forgotten, and role model to all!

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  56. One Man and a Ladybug :

    We are very sad to hear about the passing of Mr. Southern. Our sincere condolences to Southern family

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  57. To the Southern Family, Linda, Nancy and Marg,
    Very sorry for your loss. Ron was such a lovely man and visionary. It was an honor to have known him during the time I spend time at Spruce Meadows in my role as a Calgary Herald editor. It was a pleasure to spend time there and get to know all the family. He had a great passion not only for the sport but the role Spruce Meadows played in promoting it. He will be missed by all of us who were fortunate enough for our paths to cross. My prayers are with you.

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  58. Reg and Sue Nelson :

    Dear Marg, Nancy, Linda and family.

    We are so deeply saddened to learn of Ron’s passing. He will be remembered for his vision, passionate commitment to excellence and true integrity. More than this, he will be remembered as a wonderful human being, a giant of a man. My friends in Canada tell us that all Calgary is in mourning. We think the sadness is across the world and certainly here in Australia, where he has made such an impact. The light he lit still shines as brightly as ever.

    Always remembered for his kindness and thoughtfulness.

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  59. Al Duerr, Kit Chan, and Family :

    To the Southern family,
    We were greatly saddened hearing of Ron’s passing. Sometimes it is hard to believe that someone like Ron, who was larger than life, and who lived life to the fullest, would ever leave us. But that is the cycle of life. All who knew Ron personally knew how he respected his humble roots. It was his vision and strength of character that created one of the greatest Canadian success stories. Yet we always marvelled at how Ron relished treating everyone who crossed his path with the same grace and respect that he treated Royalty and the business giants that were his peers. As a former Mayor of Calgary, I and my family believe that Ron was probably the single most influential person in internationalizing Calgary, and in defining to the world the possibility that is Calgary, Alberta, and Canada. Ron was an individual with great spirit, and while he will no longer be with us in person, that spirit will live on through the legacies he created. Ron was a great man, but most importantly to us, a friend, who will be missed.

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  60. Mike & Sally Jackson :

    Dear Marg, Linda and Nancy;

    Our sincere and deepest sympathy to you and your family on Ron’s passing. Our primary interaction with Ron revolved around Scotiabank’s sponsorship of a Spruce Meadows competition. Ron, you and the Spruce Meadows employees make all guests to Spruce Meadows feel welcome to your “home”, and that has certainly been our fortunate experience. When speaking with Ron in the playpen over the years I was always impressed with his intellect, attention to detail, incredible memory, and ability to translate thoughts into action. He wore on his sleeve a deep love of family and community. There are many positive attributes that roll into the word “gentleman” and if somebody does not know what it means they need look no further than Ron Southern. His spirit will be very much alive in all the people he has touched.

    Sincerely,
    Mike & Sally Jackson

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  61. Jean Maurice Bonneau :

    C’est avec une grande tristesse que j’ai appris le départ de Ron.
    je peux imaginer la tristesse de Marg et de ses enfants pour qui cette absence va peser lourd chaque jour.
    je pense aussi qu’il faut garder en mémoire tout ce qui a été accompli en famille entourés de vos amis qui étaient tous autour de vous lors du dernier Master pour inaugurer le statue de Ron et Marg.
    je veux personnellement vous remercier pour ce que vous avez apporté à notre sport en général et à moi en particuliers.
    J’ai toujours cherché l’excellence dans ma carrière et vous nous donnez chaque année la définition de ce mot.
    L’équipe du Brésil a eu le privilège en 2015 de gagner la BMO Coupe des nations et nous sommes doublement heureux de l’avoir fait devant la famille Southern au complet.
    Nous n’oublierons jamais ce moment!
    Merci du fond du coeur pour votre générosité et je souhaite que Ron repose en paix auprès de notre sauveur et qu’il veille sur nous tous pour continuer sur le chemin qu’il nous a tracé.
    je prie pour vous Marg ainsi que vos enfants et petits enfants et vous envoie tout mon réconfort et mon immense reconnaissance.

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  62. Gordon & Donna Lalonde :

    Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with all of the Southern, Heathcott and Asselin, Spruce Meadow’s families at this most difficult of times… Mr Southern’s legacies have truly left this world a much better place…

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  63. Cristina Larangeiro :

    Dear Mrs. Southern, Nancy, Linda;
    It was an honour and a privilege to have known Mr. Southern. To have had the opportunity to share his vision of excellence it was an experience I’ll never forget.
    My thoughts and prayers go to all family.

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  64. Palmer Family :

    Dear Marg, Nancy & Linda & Southern Family,

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you! It’s was just so amazing how Ron and you greeted every single person who walked through the gates at Spruce Meadows. So warm and classy.

    When you became members of our KLM Flying Dutchmen Club (1st time KLM was in Calgary in the mid 80’s)…. You were amazing Ambassadors. We will never forget Holland Days at the Masters. Both Ron and you again went to every table and greeted every single person. I/we will never forget your warm, gracious & inviting hospitality.

    With deepest Sympathy,
    Michael, Lydia, Alexis & Chanel
    Palmer (Calgary)

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  65. Pat Montgomery :

    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of a true legend. Condolences to the entire Southern family.
    Thoughts and prayers are with you at this truly sad time!
    Pat Montgomery

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  66. Ron Southern was a visionary. He dreamed big, but what he did was allow the world to be a part of his dream by creating spruce meadows the modern day Camelot to the horse world. He will be truly missed but his legacy will live forever. My heart goes out to the Southern family during this time.

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  67. Jayne Huddleston :

    Marg, Nancy and Linda, I am honoured to have known Ron and I treasure all my memories of him. Few people in the world leave such a big legacy. His hard work changed the lives of so many people in the show jumping world and the business world, and I will always cherish the way that it changed mine. You have my heartfelt condolences at this very sad time.

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  68. Shelagh Dupuis :

    My sincere condolences to all of the Southerns. I have fond memories of Ron; having worked closesly with him during the Olympics and many other Spruce Meadows functions. He was a great man and will be missed.

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  69. Manfred Schaefer, president, Hannoveraner Verband :

    The board, staff and breeders of the Hannoveraner Verband are deeply saddened to hear of Ron Southern’s passing. He was a true pioneer, a great supporter and a breeder of the Hanoverian horse in Canada and bearer of the Golden Badge of Honour of the Hannoveraner Verband.

    Ron Southern was truly visionary – as a businessman but also as a horseman. He was a great example that success in business and strong moral and human values could be combined. Reliability and loyalty were core values for him, which he lived every day. His open nature and his attentiveness to everybody who had the privilege of meeting him will be dearly missed.

    The board, staff and breeders of the Hannoveraner Verband would like to extend their heartfelt condolences to Ron’s wife Marg Southern and their daughters Nancy Southern and Linda Heathcott with their families.

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  70. Dr. Maurice Stewart :

    To Marg Southern and family,
    It is with much sadness I have in learning of Ron’s passing. His legacy to the people of Canada in so many ways is very much cherished and he will not be forgotten. Thoughts and prayers to you at such a sad time.

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  71. My thoughts and prayers go to you Marg.. Nancy …Linda .. and the rest of the family. I meet Mr. Southern many times at Spruce Meadows, he was always nice and a gentleman. I will never forget the last time I saw him, it was the end of the Masters, sunny Sunday afternoon, he was taking a tour in his wheelchair by himself, he approached many people and thanked them for coming and I said that it was so nice to see him taking a tour, he said he likes seeing the people with their families having nice time and enjoying themselves, to keep coming. I said thank you for making Spruce Meadows such a wonderful place. He smiled at me and said Good bye Ana.

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  72. My condolences to Marg, Nancy, Linda and families from a close boyhood pal and team-mate. I plan to attend the memorial service and hope that I will have a chance to offer my sympathies and remembrances personally.

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  73. Doreen Guthrie :

    Ron was known a businessman, a dreamer, a go getter, someone who would make a plan and then make it happen. It’s because of those characteristics he and his family created and built a beautiful getaway simply known as Spruce Meadows. They opened their doors and welcomed everyone in, from all walks of life to simply watch in awe as human and horse came together as a team to show the world what they were made of, both internationally and at the grass roots level. I’m sure I can safely speak for many when I say, we appreciate that as observers and competitors much more than words can even relay.
    To Marg, Linda and Nancy and their children, he was so much more. He was a husband, a father and grandfather, their very special someone.
    My deepest condolences to you, his family and the family team of Spruce Meadows.

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  74. Such a delightful man with the biggest heart and kind smile. He will be missed by the horse world. My sympathies to the family.

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  75. My sincere condolences to the Southern family on the loss of Ron. I would also like to say thank you for the forty years of having Spruce Meadows at my door so I could experience horsemanship at its finest.

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  76. Doris Mitchell :

    Ron was a wonderful man who contributed so much to Calgary. Dave always admired him and treasured their friendship. I am so sorry and pass along my condolences to Marg and all the family.
    Doris Mitchell

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  77. Nancy Barrett :

    I will miss spotting you in your golf cart, in a corner of the Chinook Ring, all by yourself just taking it all in and enjoying the competition. I will miss your favourite tunes in the Equiplex (hope they continue) – the only chance I had to hear those fine songs from yesteryear. I will miss how you always shook my hand when I passed you in the Equiplex. I will be there on Thursday to offer condolences and to honour you, your family and your legacy.

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  78. Dear Marg, Nancy, Linda and families
    I was deeply saddened by the news of Ron’s passing. He was such a energetic and imaginative member of the Calgary, Canadian and indeed global communities and we will all miss him greatly, in my case, especially at the Trilateral Commission.

    Please accept my deep condolences. You are in my thoughts and prayers at this very sad and painful time.

    With warmest wishes, Wendy Dobson

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  79. Glori Phillips :

    Five years ago at a Lunch & Learn I spoke with Ron about my pending move to Ontario. I thanked him for bringing world class riders and horses where I could come and watch them for 20 years.I would miss the “name the foal” contest, the baking sun, freezing snain (my 80 year old Mom was there for that Masters wheel chair and all) the Dual Slalmon with the kids reminding the top guns what it feels like to go for broke and the Parade of winners’ music. Even the toilet paper was the best!!!After my move I realized what a privilege Spruce was, nothing even close in Ontario, and people grew tired of me expounding Spruces’ spirit and aura. Thank you Ron, Marg, you made my heart smile, cry, and be full of memories.

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  80. We were deeply saddened to hear of Ron’s passing. He was an amazing individual, a man of many accomplishments, and such a proud Canadian and Albertan. He will be missed by many people, around the world, for years to come. Our deepest condolences, Marg, to you, Nancy, Linda and all your family. Aloha nui loa, Bob and Roberta Giffin

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  81. Catherine and Chris Scheers :

    Dear Mrs. Southern, Nancy and Linda,

    The true measure of a man is his legacy. Ron Southern leaves behind a huge legacy in ATCO, Spruce Meadows and you – his family. He helped build this province, and this city. He leaves a permanent mark on history that will never be forgotten. I was honoured to work with him, and with you.

    Our sympathies to you in this difficult time.

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  82. Karen & Lynn Watson :

    Marg, Nancy, Linda and your families
    Our hearts are with you as you grieve the loss of your husband, father and grandfather. Ron will be greatly missed by all of us. He gave our family a life that we could only dream of and we will remember him forever. The world will not be the same without him and we deeply regret that we are unable to attend his memorial.
    Love Karen and Lynn Watson

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  83. Don & Linda Snow :

    Marg, Daughters & Family:
    Our sympathy to all of you at this inevitable step in life for Ron.
    We will miss him too, especially when we are at Spruce Meadows.
    Please accept our wishes for ongoing comfort that your Ron was such a wonderful man and outstanding member of this great world.
    Sincerely
    Don & Linda Snow

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  84. Marg, Nancy, Linda and your families
    Our hearts are with you on the loss of you husband, father and grandfather. Ron will be dearly missed by us all. He gave our family the life that we could only dream of and the world will never be the same without him. We are deeply saddened that we are unable to be with you for Ron’s memorial.

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  85. Diana McQueen :

    Dear Marg, Nancy, Linda and Family
    I am so very sorry to hear of Ron’s passing. He was such a wonderful, generous person, and together as a family you have all done so much for our Province and for Albertans. My thought and prayers are with all of you at this very sad time.

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  86. Karen Betzema :

    If you’ve ever been to a Spruce Meadows Tournament, no doubt, you will have heard Mr Southern issue an encouraging invitation to visit Spruce Meadows any day of the year with the promise that the coffee would always be on. Well, for a few years I was the one responsible for always keeping a pot brewed over in the Riding Hall. I know how sincere and pleased he was to welcome every visitor. As my roles changed over a long association with Spruce Meadows, I was able to have numerous conversations with Mr Southern. His pursuit of excellence and the idea of getting there by paying attention to the details was always very much in evidence. What a remarkable and inspirational life.
    He will be missed.
    My heartfelt condolences to Mrs Southern, Nancy, Linda and to all of your extended families.

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  87. Sam and Nancey Taylor :

    To; Mrs. Southern and Family; You are in our thoughts and prayers

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  88. Ron Southern was a truly amazing man. I don’t think I ever met someone with more vision and determination. Anyone that worked with him (and I put myself in that group) couldn’t help feeling that anything was possible. Ron was a shining example that a noble heart will always win in the end ,although he understood that this does require some effort from time to time (to which he was never shy to apply when required). Alberta, Canada and the world has lost a truly great man.

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  89. Maurer Buch Family (MEX) :

    Dear Mr. Southern, it was a pleasure to know you! we will always remember you!
    Our thoughts and prayers are with your lovely Family.
    Rest is peace!!!

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  90. Larry & Shirley Holloway :

    Marg, Nancy, and Linda

    Our sincere condolences on the passing of Ron. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of deep loss.

    It was an honor and privilege to have known and worked with Mr. Southern. He was a wonderful man who contributed immeasurably to the betterment of Calgary, Canada, and to the global business world. Indeed he was a true visionary and a man of many accomplishments.

    Regretfully we are unable to be there for Ron’s funeral service and memorial.

    Larry & Shirley

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  91. Charles From ATCO in Winnipeg :

    Over the many years working for ATCO I met Mr Southern a few times and always admired what he had accomplished and continued doing. What I will always remember was his sense of humour. I’ll never forget those times we chatted. My condolences to the family.

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  92. Dawn McMichael :

    Mrs. Southern, Nancy, Linda and Families and Everyone at Spruce Meadows,
    I was deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Southern’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this very sad time. I will always remember Mr. Southern as such a wise, gracious and kind man; I am grateful for having had the honor and privilege of knowing him.
    He is now up in heaven with Albert and Wodka.
    Rest in Peace Mr. Southern and god speed.

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  93. Dear Margaret , Nancy , Linda and all the family

    I send you all my heart felt condolences for the loss of an amazing man Ron Southern
    your husband , father and friend to so many
    It will be the wonderful memories shared of a life lived so full that will carry you all through this time of saying goodbye
    Sincere warm wishes
    Heidi Daumler

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  94. Helen, Mike, and Simonne (Mom) Scarth :

    Marg, Nancy and Linda,

    From my family to yours, our deepest condolences. Mr. Southern truly embodied and inspired Excellence. I will miss his brilliant creativity (and drawings), great intelligence and attention to detail, and amazing experience and insights which he so graciously shared. He was a wonderful mentor and I am privileged to have had the honour of working with him.

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  95. Condolences to Nancy, Linda, Margaret and family members. I am saddened to learn of your loss. Mr. Southern boosted my spirits with a very few words when we met in Calgary Petroleum Club in 1977.

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  96. Karen Ashbee and Paul Salo :

    Dear Marg, Linda, Nancy, and families,
    We are saddened to hear of your loss and you have our deepest sympathies. Calgary is a richer place because of the Southerns and we know Ron will be missed. Our thoughts are with you.

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  97. Western Canada Hanoverian Breeders Club :

    Dear Southern family,

    Mr. Southern was the biggest supporter of the Hanoverian breed in Canada. Whether it was through Name the foal, stallions imported or by competitions at the beautiful Spruce Meadows his presence was felt. The Hanoverian Club would like to say that to be able to hold the Mare show at Spruce Meadows was a great honor and was greatly appreciated. He will be missed and forever remembered.

    I would like of offer condolences on behalf of the Western Hanoverian Breeders Club as well as Hanoverian breeders all over the world.

    President Western Hanoverian Breeders Club
    Vice Chair Canadian Hanoverian Society
    Vice Chair International Hanoverian Club
    George von Platen

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  98. Paul Rowcliffe :

    Dear Mrs Southern, Nancy and Linda. Almost 40 years ago I met your family as a summer student working at the Meadows. Don Peterson and I had travelled from Ontario and by luck landed at Spruce Meadows….painting fences and serving as jump crew. I remember Dr Lee explaining how to measure between jumps to set stride and Pamela Carruthers schooling us on how to behave in a show jumping ring….of course the first jump was a gift. Over the years as I helped with timing at the shows, working with Ed Dalik I was lucky to have the exposure to many of the world’s top judges and learned so much about the sport. More importantly, the friendships that developed that first summer, are still strong today, with many of the former staff still keeping in touch with each other. We have you to thank for that. Mr Southern had a true love of his province…something I always respected. His vision and determination were always an inspiration. One of favourite memories of Mr Southern…. it was the National, mid week, and it had snowed overnight…not a lot but the grass was covered. I was helping with the timing and arrived at the Show Office wearing shorts, a Meadows t-shirt, and runners..no socks. Mr Southern came into the office…looked at me…smiled and said “promise me Paul you won’t try to date either of my daughters”….we both had a good laugh.
    A life well lived and my heart felt condolence to each of you.

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  99. Margaret & David Boone :

    Our deepest sympathy to Marg and family in the loss of a loving husband, father and grandfather. Ron will be certainly missed for all he did for Calgary. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. A Gentleman passed this way.
    Margaret & David Boone

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  100. Laurielee Rosser :

    Another Angel has earned his wings. Saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Southern our condolences to the family. He was a brilliant man, highly respected by many around the world. He is still watching over all of us and I am sure has established a new round table in heaven meeting up with the many that took the journey before him. Certain that Gordon Rosser and Cam Richardson were some of the first to greet him and catch up. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time. R.I.P Ron. ——–Bruce and Laurielee Rosser

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  101. Fernando Villar (México) :

    I wish to extend my deepest condolences to Marg, Nancy and Linda on Ron´s passing. As the former Consul of Mexico I visited Spruce Meadows in 2012. His legacy will remain as an example of vision, passion and excellence for future generations.

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  102. Jennifer Hutchins :

    I have attended Spruce Meadows as a spectator every year since 1989 from B.C. It has been one of the highlights of my life and I have always appreciated the welcoming atmosphere of the Southern family, the beautiful location and how affordable it has been to come.
    My thoughts are with you at this difficult time but I look forward to coming to Calgary and Spruce Meadows again. Mr. Southern’s legacy will live on and I will never forget the contribution the family has made to the equestrian industry. Jennifer Hutchins

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  103. Norm King & Sharon Viste-King :

    We will greatly miss Ron’s smiles and thoughtfulness to us throughout the many years at various meetings. We have always enjoyed the class exemplified by the entire Southern family. Our thoughts are with the family at this time.

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  104. The Dutch Canadian Choir of Calgary :

    The Dutch Canadian Choir of Calgary (past & present), express our sincere sympathy to Marg and family. Ron was a remarkable man and will be missed internationally.
    We have been privileged to participate and enjoy the Spruce Meadows Masters from it’s infancy. We look forward to continuing the sharing Saturday Holland Day.
    May you be comforted by wonderful memories.

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  105. Don & Cheryl Chynoweth :

    Mary, Nancy, Linda and Southern family…. On behalf of Cheryl and I and our family, we are thinking of you in this time of loss. The wonderful memories that Ron brought to us personally and to so many people around the globe with his kindness, sense of humour and leadership with the ” family sense” is still with everyone he interacted with throughout his life! Those memories will always be cherished!
    Ron’s mentorship during my time with ATCO is still with me everyday and many of his “outstanding quotes” are used continuously by many! May you may comforted by all the great family trips, creations, memories and laughter you shared with such a great man, husband, father and grandfather!

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  106. Esterina Ruffo :

    Dear Mrs. Southern and family, it was with great sadness that we heard of Mr. Southern’s passing. Both Domenic and I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to you and your family. We always enjoyed his company when we had a chance to see him when you would come over. He was a great man, kind and gracious. Both Calgary and Alberta are a richer and fortunate place by all his contributions. How fortunate we are to have had him grow his visions here.

    Esterina and Domenic Ruffo

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  107. Diana Whitaker :

    My thoughts and deepest condolences are with all the Southern family. The brilliance of team work between Ron and Marg, and later Nancy and Linda, was a wonder to behold. I have watched Spruce Meadows blossom, from its early beginnings. I am one the fortunate ones, as I was announcing at a Sea Fever Horse Show one weekend, when Ron Southern, who was enjoying the show, beckoned me over and told me ” Young lady, you need to be at Spruce Meadows” . That was the beginning of a wonderful adventure.
    Thank you Ron for the amazing opportunity. RIP.

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  108. Rosalba and Fernando Aguilar :

    Dear Marg, Nancy and Linda,

    It is with great sadness that we hear of the passing of our dear friend, Ron. He was a great man, and a great Canadian. His accomplishments are many and his legacy will live long, as will his amazing story. It has been an honour and a pleasure to have known such an amazing man.

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  109. Donald Bachman :

    To The family Of Spruce Meadows.
    My wife and I were saddened to learn of Ron’s passing. We always enjoyed your beautiful and
    friendly home when we were able to come down for the Masters.The future will be a place where
    another good person is no longer there ,but their time here has enriched so many of us.
    Don,Sherry and Myrtle

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  110. Thank you, your kindness & brilliance will always inspire ! ~ <3 & light to the Southern Family ~

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  111. Wishing you and your family my deepest condolences during this very difficult time. As you well know, Ron was an amazing man and he touched everyone in his path of life. I will be forever grateful for the support he gave the community of Slave Lake, the ATCO employees and the Slave Lake Firefighters during the 2011 Slave Lake Wildfires. His compassion and fortitude was one of the main reasons the community was able to rebound from this disaster as quick as they did. Thank -you

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  112. Diane M Anderson :

    Simple words are not enough to describe how much I respect and admire Mr. southern and his wonderful family.
    To all of you may your hearts heal with the many many memories of the Beautifully full life he lived. He led by example in all that he said and did. It has been an honor to have known him
    Diane M Anderson

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  113. Sherri McAvoy :

    The world has lost an amazing man! My thoughts and prayers go out to the Southern family during this extremely emotional & difficult time.

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  114. Marg, Nancy, Linda and Families

    The Simpson Family offer our condolences on the passing of R. D.. I will always remember Mr. Southern as a great Canadian, Albertan and Calgarian. The Southern Family creation of Spruce Meadows allowed many Canadians to become world class leaders in the sport of show jumping. RD acted as a mentor for me in my early business years and became a close personal friend over our years together. I will always remember his handshake – it compelled you step up and hold your end of the deal as you always knew he would. We will be looking for RD every time we return to Spruce Meadows.
    John Simpson Jollean Hancen

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  115. Deepest condolences to the Southern family. I am deeply saddened by Mr. Southern’s passing. His generosity and vision are unmatched. I thank him, and Mrs. Southern for the great gifts they have bestowed on Calgary.

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  116. Rob Orser, 1st VP Steele's Scouts :

    Rob Orser, Steele’s Scouts
    Our condolences to Marg, Linda, Nancy and Family.

    Since 1977 Steele’s Scouts have been part of Spruce Meadows as it evolved into a world class sporting facility. We shared Ron Southern’s love of horses and interest in Canadian history.

    When standing guard duty, walking about the beautiful grounds, cantering to the Redetsky March or passing the reviewing stand the Troop will remember and miss Mr. Southern.

    Truly a man of vision and a great Canadian, Ron Southern has rode onto Fiddler’s Green.

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  117. Can’t attend the funeral but want to send the most heartfelt condolences to the family. My fondest memory of Ron was when he told Linda to give me a Sprucemeadows jacket and she did. Your dad was awesome. Love The Rowley Family Vern,Gwen,Ben and Chris

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  118. I wish to extend my deepest condolences and prayers for all the Southern family through this difficult time. May you find comfort in your fond memories.

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  119. Ron, You were an awesome Calgarian, Albertan, Canadian and World Leader.
    Your legacies will last forever.
    Fond memories of you as a neighbor, Stanley Jones Alumnus and Crescent Heights Alumnus.
    Condolences to Marg, Nancy and Linda.
    May God Bless–Brad Colvin

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  120. I once read “God picks the best flowers for his garden” and I have come to believe that now. Not only have I had the privilege in meeting this generous and gracious man, but watched over the years as he invited “everyone” into his world. Thinking of Mrs. Southern, and his lovely daughters, Nancy and Linda. Although a very sad day…. you all must be so proud

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  121. Bonita BarberWihak :

    Mr. Southern was a Champion. In my heart the Champion of Spruce Meadows! I was so fortunate to be able to ride horses that came from Spruce Meadows especially being a young girl from Saskatchewan. He loved talking to young people and listening to their dreams. His personality reflected some of the top Grand Prix horses that were educated on Spruce Meadows turf during Spruce Meadows competitions. Big Ben, Hickstead, Cortes C, Mcavoy and Linda and Nancy s Grand Prix horses….They were special, they were intelligent, strong in character and always had a desire for excellence. Is that not what Mr. Southern reflected? A desire for excellence in everything he represented. We became better people and better riders in his company. Thankyou Mr. Southern for allowing us to continue to sit in your living room at Spruce Meadows. I will never forget the kindness your family showed us….Bonita

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  122. Jan, Craig, Melissa and Ken Maxwell :

    Mr. Southern and Marg created an incredible legacy that will live on well after his passing. He was a trail blazer and a builder and a wonderful person, down to earth and always had time to talk and say hello. We have such good memories of Ron and Marg and the whole Spruce Meadows community and our wonderful experiences there. In these sad days our thoughts and condolences are with you.

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  123. Mayor Peter Brown and City of Airdrie Council :

    Mayor Peter Brown and the City of Airdrie Council extend our deepest condolences to the Southern family on the passing of Ron Southern. Ron was a tremendous supporter of Alberta communities, large and small. We appreciate the many visible reminders of his legacy, from Spruce Meadows to local partnerships with ATCO employees. Thank you, Ron.

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  124. My sympathies to the whole family at this time of sorrow.
    Mr. Southern was a remarkable person and it was people like him that built the foundations of Alberta. The future and present generations can only hope to rise up to his level of commitment. I am proud to say I work for one of his companies because its reputation is a strong and ethical one. (AKITA Drilling Ltd.). He will never really leave; as his mark is in your hearts forever. Celebrate his life with the gusto he lived it and the fondest of memories.

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  125. C. Dean Wiersma :

    On behalf of my wife Nubia and daughter Annabel, we would like to offer our condolences to all of the Southern Family. In light of the fact that we never were able to meet Mr.Southern in person, we offer what might have said. “Your legacy will be as much in the lives you touched as in the things you built.” We have visited the wonderful facility that is Spruce Meadows many times and want to thank you for the bold project that you and Mrs. Southern set your minds to. We are well aware that you did this, and much that went on without the public knowing, all while creating and operating some of Alberta’s most recognized businesses. Thank you, you will be remembered.

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  126. For many years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the staff at Spruce Meadows. It was with great sadness that we learned of Mr. Southern’s passing. On behalf of myself and my staff, I wish to extend our most heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Southern, Nancy, Linda, their families and the staff at Spruce Meadows for their loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

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  127. My condolences to you and your family at this sad time. Mr. Southern was a wonderful and giving person. I will always remember talking with him in the International Ring. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  128. Rev. Bruce Sheasby :

    Dear Marg, Linda and Nancy,
    Having shared a memorable visit with Marg years ago with our mutual friend Audrey Shackleton, I have always maintained a deep respect and gratitude for your family and the positive difference you have made to our community and far beyond. As the movie “Its a Wonderful Life” reminds me, had Ron never been born our world would be a much poorer place. May you be comforted by God’s Peace along with His goodness and Amazing Grace as you trust Ron in to God’s Paradise.
    Respectfully,
    Rev. Bruce Sheasby

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  129. Pamela Jonassen :

    To the Entire Southern Family: I have many fond memories of your family and welcoming they always were. I was at Spruce Meadows on many occasions. When Ron and Marg would travel with Air Canada when I was a Flight Attendant, they were always gracious, humble, kind and always remembered me. Seeing Nancy on occasion at Stampede was always a delight. Having lost my mother recently, I feel especially touched.
    My sincerest condolences.
    Many fond wishes in this time of remembering.

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  130. My prayers and thoughts are with you in your celebration of life for a very respected man who will be missed. Thank you Mr. Southern for 30 years of employment and of being a mentor for respect, commitment and the value of community involvement.

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  131. Jan McHattie nee Milligan :

    Marg and family,
    My condolences to you at this time of sorrow.
    I would like to thank you for your kindness and friendship to my mother , Isla. Your family has been part of my family, my whole life, thru stories my mother told as far back as high school. (Crescent Heights)
    Ron led a remarkable life and his love and legacy will live on. Nancy and Linda you must be so proud of your Dad, my heart goes out to you.

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  132. Canada and Calgary have lost a great man. God bless his family.

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  133. Chelsea Pasutto :

    Sympathies to the whole family during this difficult time. Although I never met Mr. Southern personally I would often listen to his eloquent speeches. My mother and I would sit on the grounds and she would tell me all about him, and his history, and I remember thinking “I wish I could do half as much as he did in my life”. Through continuing to go to the events that Spruce Meadows has with my family we will honor his memory. God bless.

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  134. Dear Marg, Nancy, Linda and the Southern Family,

    On behalf of all employees at your three North of 60 utility companies and our families, please accept our deepest condolences for the passing of your husband, father and friend, Mr. Southern.

    Mr. Southern’s deep passion for the north and his unwavering confidence in its people, unique culture and vast potential are deeply rooted in each of our company’s histories, the positive and long-lasting partnerships we are privileged to have with all Indigenous communities and communities we serve, and our shared successes.

    We aspire to continue his legacy for generations to come.

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  135. Dear Marg, Nancy, Linda and Family

    I was so saddened to hear of Ron’s passing. He was a truly unique and wonderful person, his generosity, warmth and kindness are memories I shall treasure, knowing him was an honour and a privilege.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    With love
    Liz Urwin

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  136. Edith (Edie) Biebert :

    My thoughts and heart reach out to you, Marg, Nancy, Linda and your families.
    Thank you for your foresight and creation of Spruce Meadows. Equus has always held a special place in my heart. I’ve enjoyed the venue since 1978 when I arrived in Alberta and appreciate the calibre of the facility, events, Hanoverian breeding programs and quality of the events. Most of all, I’ve appreciated “a wave or hello” from you on the occasion that our paths crossed while visiting Spruce Meadows.
    Well done and many thanks from my family and friends.
    Edith

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  137. The people from ATCO Gas in Wetaskiwin and Drayton Valley wanted to express their condolences to Mrs. Margaret Southern, Nancy, Linda and their families. We are sorry for your loss sincerly: Dave Recknagle, Shirley Anhill, Rox Luc, Rudy Vandenbiggelaar, Glen Bowie, Mike Haak, Mike Primus, Zach Gylander, Bob Manary, Colin Burch, Lorraine Hawley, Mitch Hay, Jeff Johnson, Dylan Fulks, Josh Feragotti, Jason Moore, Colin Rouault, Peter Vendersluis, Keegan Elder, Sean Bijeau, Matt Dillon, Jesse Glass and Arwid Filbert.
    He was a good boss and an interesting man.

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  138. Stacey Lim-Salters & Tony Salters :

    We are so saddened and sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your families during these difficult times.

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  139. Geir Gulliksen /Scott Brash :

    My deepest sympathy Of loss Of your dearest Ron a great entrepeneur Of our sport And a true gentleman to anyone he met rich or poor he did not divide people yours sincerely Scott Brash And Geir Gulliksen

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  140. Sincere condolences to you, Mrs. Southern, Nancy and Linda and families at this sad time.
    Fond memories of a time in the early 70’s, at Saint Georges Stables, watching with anticipation as the dream of Spruce Meadows unfolded. The world has lost a remarkable person but his legacy will remain an inspiration for generations to come. Thank you.

    Jill Jenkins.

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  141. Our sincere condolences to you Mrs Southern, Nancy and Linda and families.
    I have been an employee of Atco gas since 1987 and proudly worked hard for the company. Mr Southern will be greatly missed bye us all. Thank you
    John Powell and family

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  142. Sherri and Stuart Blyth :

    Our heartfelt condolences to your whole family. We deeply appreciate Mr. Southern’s vision in creating Spruce Meadows and your family’s careful nurturing of that dream. We are eternally grateful for the opportunities that our daughter had by being a part of the Spruce Meadows family. She is the woman that she is today because of her experiences as a rider in your horse program and later as a summer employee while going to school. We salute a great man!

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  143. Dennis and Nadine Longson :

    Our condolences to the Southern Family. It was with great honor that my wife and I were able to share a meal with Ron and Marg when I recieved the S.D. Southern award. We appreciate all they have done for Albertans.

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  144. Chris Brodeur :

    Dear Nancy,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with your family at this difficult time. I will always remember your dad when he came to Hay River to speak to the annual Chamber of Commerce gala. He regaled us with stories and his political ideas for quite some time to the delight of his audience. He then presented the ladies at the head table with beautiful scarves which Rita cherishes to this day. He then invited us to be his guests at the Masters and sent his jet to pick a number of us up in Hay River. As I recall Steve Brooks, Steve Savage and Russel King and our wives were all treated. It sure beat traveling PWA! In any case it was a wonderful memory of his thoughtfulness and I just wanted to share that with your family.
    Best regards,
    Chris Brodeur and Rita Dahlke

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  145. Michael Readwin :

    Dear Nancy,
    I was so saddened to hear about your dad my prayers and thoughts are with you, Linda and your Mom. Knowing you since university days I had the honour of meeting and talking to your dad on various occasions. I feel very privileged and honoured that I had the opportunity to have even met your Dad and can say that anyone that met him was honoured and privileged.

    I considered your Father to be the pure definition and icon of Canadian business and entrepreneurship and the only definition or category that in my opinion he was more successful at would be his role of Father to you and Linda and husband to your Mother. Here is someone that went from selling trailers with his dad to being a international caption of industry and having the Queen of England as a family friend.

    I do not want to start listing all his successes as there is not enough room on my computer. Considering all the successes he had and the amount of wealth he accumulated you would never know it from meeting or talking to him. For example even though I have not seen you for a number of years someone told your mom and dad were still living in the same house they bought in the late 60’s early 70’s.

    I felt very fortunate every time I got to meet your dad and with out question was the most interesting person I ever met. He always showed and lived by example and one of the very few people actually the only one I know that put family ahead of business and was extremely successful at both with out compromising either, but he like a lot of us learnt buy his mistakes. When he did make a mistake he would not ignore it but correct it and make it so much better when he did.

    The best example I have to explain how your Dad would manage business and family at the same time, actually let me correct that it would be Family and business. He explained to me one time that to be successful with a family you make it your first priority not the other way around. If you do that and have a happy family you will be more successful faster in your business.

    The times I met with him over the years were mostly just short conversations except for one time which I must say was one of the best life lessons and conversations I ever had. I was attending a function at Spruce Meadows and was seated beside your dad at the dinner table. The first thing he did that impressed the hell out of me was that he remembered my name considering he is someone if your lucky enough to see every few years and usually a handshake and short conversation. That made me feel very special and remembered saying to myself Ron Southern knows my name how cool is that.

    I cannot remember what the function was but your dad and I started talking about Spruce Meadows and I remember telling him I was at the first opening event in 1976 and it was now about 20 years later. The conversation started by me asking him how he came up with the idea to build Spruce Meadows and he said he was at a point in his life that he wanted to make some serious changes from what he was doing to what his priorities should be. The biggest influence to build Spruce Meadows he told me was you and Linda. He wanted to me more involved and be apart of your life, he said he was a workaholic and that limited him from spending time with you, Linda and your Mom. He said time was going by fast and if he didn’t do something right away it will be to late. He said he thought a lot about what can he do to be able to see and spend more time with both of you. You and Linda were his muse for Spruce Meadows he knew how much you both loved horses and how much you loved to compete. His focus was that he wanted to build something that both you, Linda and your Mom could be involved in. He told me how much he loves his family but felt he was not doing enough for them, going back to 1976 he had already become and was a very successful wealthy businessman. I am not sure how I got into this very personal conversation with him about his family but felt honoured. Once he had the idea of what he wanted to build he said he then discussed it with you, Linda and your Mom, it then became a family project and Spruce Meadows became the vision of the Souther family which I believe is still true today.

    There are so many great things your dad has done and accomplished including mentoring you to take over the company which he started way back when you were going to University, which I must say his is greatest achievement. Your dad will never be forgotten and always remembered with his greatest legacy being his family.

    My prayers and blessings to you, Linda and your Mom and the rest of the Southern family.

    Michael Readwin

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  146. Helen Mc Donald :

    I met Mr and Mrs Southern 10 years ago when my husband and I visited Sprucemeadows for a show jumping competition. John Valance from Australia was course building at that competition. My husband and I were walking the course when we met you both. We were just two Australians traveling. Mr Southern and you stopped for a chat and I asked Ron how I could start a Sprucemeadows in Australia. He was inspirational and I have never forgotten our little chat. The next day we returned to Sprucemeadows and ran into Ron again. Not only did he recognise us but he even remembered our names and where we were from. I could not believe it.
    I have not been able to start a Sprucemeadows in Australia but one day before I leave this Earth I will do something to help our Equestrian Sport grow and flourish. Mr Southern has had a huge impact on my life just by that one chance meeting. What an awesome man who has touched many lives. I remember him pointing out one of his grandchildren who was riding and he was so proud.
    I feel privileged to have had a chance meeting with Ron and his wife Margret and I often think of them. Thank you for the memories of your wonderful property and condolences to you all.

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  147. Debbie Handysides :

    I would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mrs Southern, Nancy and Linda on the passing of Ron. We met Mr Southern through business about 10 years ago it was such a privilege and an honor, something that we will never forget. The world has lost someone truly remarkable!

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  148. Marco and Jael de Wit Zuidwolde :

    Our condolences to the Southern family.
    We wish you strength and power in this difficult time.

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  149. Hendrik Prinz :

    My heartfelt condolences to Mrs Southern, Nancy and Linda as well as the entire Southern Family.

    R.D. was a great gentleman and a remarkable person. He even knew my name before I first met him, which was very impressive. I still remember our conversation at Albert’s farm as if it was yesterday.

    I wish you strength during this difficult time and all the very best with regard to preserving his monumental legacy.

    Hendrik Prinz

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  150. Our sincere condolences to Ron’s family. Ron will truly be missed by the entire community.

    Jake Harp and daughters Lisa, Susan & Donna

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  151. Mimi and Dale Downey :

    We are saddened to hear of Ron’s passing. The results of his vision have left a great legacy for horse enthusiasts and Albertans who enjoy Spruce Meadows. We offer condolences to the family as they carry on.

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  152. Stuart Wright :

    My family and I enjoyed our annual pilgrimage to Spruce Meadows every September for the Masters. My wife and all of my daughters are all jumpers, and we truly appreciated the facility and its staff for their professionalism and hospitality. Ron was one of those folks who made me proud to be an Albertan. He will be missed! God Bless your family to carry on his work and his legacy to the citizens of this great province.

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  153. It is with great sadness that I read of your loss. This is a tremendous loss to the world of business and most of all to the Equine World. He will long be remembered with great respect and fondness.

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  154. Russell Family of Foxwood Farms :

    Mrs Southern, Nancy, Linda and families,
    Our sincere condolences to you all on your recent loss. In time may your sadness be replaced by wonderful memories of your husband, dad and grandfather.

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  155. Lisa Richardson :

    To the Family and the Family of Spruce Meadows

    Sincere condolences on the loss of Mr. Southern. I hope that the many memories that you all have and those that others share with you give you some peace. The “play-pen” will never be the same.

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  156. Ellen Drews Ortlieb :

    My family sends sincere condolences to all of you. We cherish the memories we have and will always remember the spirit of Ron Southern. His life embraced the words of “Excellence”. How fortunate we all were to have him touch our lives. What a great legacy he leaves in your family and his friends. The world will not be the same without him, but better because he was here.

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  157. Ken & Helen Hiebert :

    Marg, Nancy, Linda and Family
    We are deeply saddened at the news of Ron’s passing.
    From the days of rescuing CU that many years ago, we have been grateful and proud to be part of the ATCO family.
    Please accept our deepest and sincere condolences,
    Ken & Helen Hiebert

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  158. Karen (Hart ) Brown :

    My deepest sympathy, to Marg, Linda, Nancy and extended family. Ron was an amazing man , he made everyone feel special and valid once he knew you and that is rare in the world today . Spruce Meadows, corporate world and Canada have had light go out but a star in heaven born. His legacy lives on in Spruce with Albert. I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. Karen [ Hart ] Brown

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