DOBSON, John William
July 25, 1928 - July 30, 2013
It is with profound sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of John Dobson at The Montreal General Hospital. Predeceased by his parents Sydney George Dobson and Beatrice Winifred Dobson (Chambers) and his sister, Virginia Dobson Cockfield. Survived by his niece from Delta B.C. Diana Dobson Knox, her husband Parker, and grand-nieces Victoria and Alex and great-grand-nephew Logan Dobson. John was passionate in life about four things: investing, entrepreneurship, golf and his love of Canada. John grew up in Montreal and graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1949 and received his Masters of Business of Administration from Harvard in 1952. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from McGill in 1996, another from Concordia in 2002 as well as one from Acadia and Dalhousie Universities. He was awarded McGill's Management Achievement Award in 1992, and in 1997 John was named to the Order of Canada.
John began his formal work career with Dominion Engineering, and then the Montreal investment firm, of C.J. Hodgson. This background prepared him to venture on his own in 1960 when he founded The Formula Growth Fund, one of Canada's earliest mutual funds and one of the most successful and long-standing mutual funds in Canadian history and the world. John is generally recognized as the Dean of growth stock investing in Canada.
John was a major philanthropist to numerous universities, associations and agencies, and believed deeply in helping others succeed by developing future leaders in Canadian business. While studying for his MBA, John attended the small business class at Harvard University. It was from that early exposure and his teaching experience that he developed the vision of university involvement in entrepreneurial studies and community entrepreneurial outreach as an effective stimulant to economic development and employment generation. He believed that the Harvard model, which now has 22 professors of entrepreneurship, should be more prevalent in Canada.
In 1986, John established The John Dobson Foundation to "help educate the public with respect to the free enterprise system and entrepreneurial activities in Canada." This foundation has supported many and varied community entrepreneurial efforts such as The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, The Youth Employment Services Foundation of Montreal (which supports in excess 2100 marginalized youth annually), and Junior Achievement. He was the original sponsor of the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs, a national student body which advocates entrepreneurial education. He is also a supporter of five major Canadian economic "Think Tanks."
The first and flagship activity of the Foundation was the creation of the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies at McGill University in 1989. The Foundation has created the McGill Entrepreneurial Skill Development Program and today there are 13 sections of entrepreneurial studies in programs in Business, MBA, Engineering, and Science. The John Dobson Foundation has supported entrepreneurial development at sixteen Canadian universities. In addition to the enhancement of entrepreneurial education at specific institutions, John's involvement has resulted in the establishment of regional and national networks of educators and small business interveners creating unprecedented synergy and cooperation.
John brought great enthusiasm to life through business, community and his love of golf. He was a member of the Mount Bruno Country Club, Montreal and the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club, Florida as well as a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrew's Scotland. John felt as much at home on a golf course as he did dealing with business affairs at his office. He has served as a member of the executive committee and Director of both the Quebec Golf Association and the Royal Canadian Golf Association, and as an honorary Director of the Quebec Golf Professionals. He has played close to 700 golf courses worldwide. He was also an active member of numerous other clubs and associations including the Fraser Institute of Canada and the C.D. Howe Institute.
John will always be remembered for his kind gestures to others and his positive spirited values that makes for a strong Canada. He provided many young students with an opportunity to attend university. He will be sadly missed by his business associates, numerous friends, his second family at Formula Growth and his immediate family. Special thanks to the staff of Westmount One Residence, We Care Medical Services (special thanks to Milady) and the Montreal General Hospital and especially Barbara Ellis, Formula Growth who made his life more comfortable in his later years.
A memorial service will be held Monday, August 5, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. at the Mount Royal Funeral Complex, 1297 Chemin de la Forêt, Outremont (QC) H2V 2P9 514-279-6540 (www.mountroyalcem.com).
Published in The Gazette from Aug. 1 to Aug. 3, 2013