Latham Cawthra Burns

Obituary
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  • "My thoughts and prayers to all of you. What a wonderful man..."
    - clare Kean-Hammerson
  • "Dear Paddy Ann, Cawthra & Ainsley, It was with great..."
    - Peta Kean-Hammerson/Graham
  • "Dear Paddy Ann, I am so sorry to hear the news of your..."
    - Tracey Neziol
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  • "Dear Paddy Ann and family, Words convey so little when..."
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Latham Cawthra Burns
TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA & AIKEN, SC - The Great Latham Cawthra Burns, 84, of Toronto, Canada, and Aiken, South Carolina, passed peacefully from this world on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, surrounded by those who loved him most.
He is survived by his loving wife Paddy Ann Higgins and his five children: Reed Burns, Farish Burns, Holton Burns (Maite Pera Romero) Cawthra Burns (Fred Bruun) and
Ainsley Burns (Kevin Marshall). He also leaves behind eight grandchildren: Beringer and Lindsey Stevens; Malcolm, Cawthra and Hiram Burns; Isobel and Lila Bruun; and Luke Marshall.
Latham attended Trinity College School in Port Hope Ontario, Collegiate School in New York City and Cornell University in Ithaca New York where he was a Delta Kappa Epsilon.
His prolific career in the investment industry began while working for his family firm, Burns Brothers, which was founded in the 1930's by his father and uncle. He joined Burns Brothers & Denton in 1952, and became President in 1966. In 1976 he was appointed Chairman of Burns Fry, a role he held until 1989. He oversaw decades of ambitious growth, transforming the firm from a small regional player to a national powerhouse and orchestrating the acquisition of a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, which pushed the company into international markets.
During his career, his work with some of Canada's most important corporations left an indelible mark on Canadian business. He remained honorary Chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns well into his retirement and his business acumen and vast rolodex continued to help serve some of the bank's most important corporate clients. Many boards, public and private, were fortunate enough to benefit from his wise counsel over the years. He was particularly proud of the work he did as the Chair of the St. Michael's Hospital Foundation. For all of his accomplishments in business and philanthropy, he was renowned for his fairness and uncompromising ethics.
In recent years, he used his great mind to guide budding entrepreneurs and young businesses. He helped launch a number of successful start-ups and imbued their principals with optimism and an understanding of the absolute necessity of conducting business with integrity.
He was a proud member of many clubs in Canada and abroad, including: The Toronto Club, The York Club, The Green Boundary Club, The Whiskey Junction, Sam's Club and, oddly for a man who didn't ride, too many North American fox hunting clubs to count.
Latham had a multitude of wonderful friends of every age with whom he enjoyed a fireside chat in his den. The move to spend his winter months in Aiken, South Carolina, produced a cherished group of colourful Southern friends, who brought him immense joy for the past 20 years. Latham quickly became a pillar of the Aiken community and the host (sometimes begrudgingly) of the best parties in town at his beloved Pink House.
He was a true romantic who loved to travel the old fashioned way, on ships and trains. He was a voracious reader with a constant thirst for knowledge.
He was a skilled raconteur who loved to sit down and "have a yarn," but as eloquent and funny as he was, he was an even better listener. When he stood up from his dinner table to address a gathering, the crowd hung on his every word and he never disappointed. He was famous for his jokes and loved to talk "local news."
He was a bestower of lifelong nicknames to most who crossed his path and had an endless arsenal of expressions, which he skillfully utilized with impeccable timing. He was never at a loss for words and his words were always dead on.
Later in his life, he developed a great love of dogs. In the past 20 years, he was rarely seen without one of his loyal King Charles Spaniels riding shotgun or curled up at his feet.
Above all, his greatest accomplishment was his fairy tale marriage to his "dear little PA". He cherished every moment of their 44-year love story. He thought that she hung the moon.
The family wishes to extend their sincere thanks to all of the wonderful doctors and health care professionals who cared for him, including his family doctors, Dr. Bernie Gosevitz and Dr. Marc Brickman.
His funeral will take place on Wednesday May 20th, 2015 at 3 p.m. at Grace Church on the Hill in Toronto, 300 Lonsdale Road. A memorial will take place in Aiken, South Carolina, in the spring of 2016.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Peter Munk Cardiac Center at the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation would be appreciated, please call 416-603-6278 or visit www.inaheartbeat.ca
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Published in The Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star from May 15 to May 16, 2015