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Angus MacNaughton

Angus MacNaughton
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Angus MacNaughton

July 15, 1931 – May 19, 2021

Angus Athole MacNaughton, born July 15, 1931 in Montreal, to Athole Austin MacNaughton and Emily Kidder MacNaughton (née McLean) died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Danville, California, on the morning of May 19, 2021. He is survived by his loving children, A. Andrew MacNaughton and wife Julie, Gillian MacNaughton and partner Diane Frey, his brother Bruce and wife Ann, sister-in-law Judy Munro and husband Robert, nieces Hilary and Margaret, and nephews John, Ian, Sandy, Neil and James.

Angus attended Roslyn Elementary School in Westmount, Lakefield College School in Ontario, Lower Canada College in Montreal and McGill University. He started working for McDonald, Currie and Co. (later Coopers & Lybrand) at age 18 and attended night school to become a Chartered Accountant. He then worked for Sogemines, Ltd, which later became Genstar Limited (and then Genstar Corporation), where he began as assistant treasurer and eventually moved up to be president and CEO. During the later years, Angus and his partner Ross Turner served in alternate years as president and CEO. They sold Genstar Limited in 1986 and soon after started Genstar Investment Corporation, which was closed in 2020.

Angus was a financier extraordinaire, a successful venture capitalist, and a man who loved making money. In 2005, The Globe and Mail republished an article naming him one of “the ten greatest CEOs of all time.” He served on the Boards of Barrick Gold Corporation, Canadian Pacific, Fairmont Hotels, Sunlife of Canada, Varian Semiconductor Associates Inc., Lakefield College School, the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Bay Area Council Boy Scouts of America and the San Ramon Medical Center.

When not building empires, Angus devoted much of his time and energy to helping others, from his many philanthropic and charitable pursuits, to supporting aspiring business people of all ages. He was renowned for his ability to distill complex market situations into simple terms that provided guidance and inspiration to many.

In addition to his countless business successes, Angus was a topnotch downhill skier, excellent hockey player, avid golfer, and adventurous water skier (having skied on both a broom and an ironing board, as well as in sneakers, and on a disk standing on a stool with his young son on his shoulders). He ran a small circus for children at Lake Memphremagog with swimming, water skiing, mini-bike riding, plane rides and other fun activities. In the 1970s, children were fascinated by his telephone in a briefcase.

Aside from money, Angus loved cars, boats, planes and fancy watches. His first love was a blue 1956 Lincoln Continental Convertible, known to all as Bertha, that he purchased after it was used to rob a bank. He went on to own a 1933 Packard, several Mercedes and BMWs, and a Rolls Royce, but in the end it was his Bentleys that he loved the most. As for boats, he had a cigarette, supercharged racers, Grews for water skiing, and a 42-foot day cruiser to end the list. His first plane was a Cesna 172, AOA, then a 182RG, and the last one he flew on his own was a 210, 49ST.

Although he had many luxury cars and boats, he was most proud of the small boats he built in his basement at Owl’s Head for his children. First, he made the Blue Binny, an open hulled rowboat, to which he later added a dagger board, mast step and rudder to turn it into a sailboat, and second, a 7-foot runabout, the Red Rebel, for his son.

Angus also loved skiing in Klosters, (though not getting buried in the avalanche), and St Moritz with his dear friends Meinrad and Mariana Weber, and Heli-skiing with his son Andrew, and family friends John Pincott, Kyle Heron, and Hans Auer in the Whistler area, Bugaboos, Gothics, coastal mountains north of Vancouver, Mont Blanc, and in the Annapurna and Everest regions of Nepal. Later in life, he enjoyed skiing at the Yellowstone Club in Montana.

Angus loved to eat what he loved to eat. Mostly chocolate – chocolate soufflé, chocolate fondue, chocolate cake, chocolate horribles (biscuits with marshmallow covered in chocolate), chocolate bars, chocolate milkshakes – and lots of maple syrup. Although Angus would not be considered a gambler outside of his business ventures, he did love to play craps. Tossing a quarter at the dealer and yelling C and E was his signature move. He did that on every come out roll and if the dice bounced onto the floor. He played in Lake Tahoe, Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, among other gambling centers.

Later in life, he took his family and friends on amazing trips to far off places, including Bora Bora, Shanghai, Ho Chi Ming City, the Maldives, Zanzibar, Ushuaia, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, as well as more familiar haunts including Magog, Ogunquit and Portsmouth (for popovers).

Angus also included in his family Françoise Jacot, his secretary for many, many years, followed by Laura Smith, Carmen Mora his household manager, and Francine Kring, his personal trainer. He will be dearly missed.


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