Skip navigation

Saturday December 1, 2012

GOODCHILD, Graham Ernest, C.A.

September 9, 1938 - November 20, 2012
With immeasurable sadness we share the news that, after facing many complex health issues over the past few years, Graham passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family.
Predeceased by his mother, Jane Graham Goodchild, and his father, George Ernest Graves, Montreal. Graham will be deeply missed by Cynthia his beloved wife of 23 years; his children, Cynthia Lynn (Colin Kinnear), Deanna Jane (Colin McClure), and Derek Graham; grandchildren, Tegan and Cameron Kinnear and Callum and Hannah McClure. Step-father to Allan Frost. Lovingly remembered by brothers John, Bill (Mary), and Ronald (Daryl). Predeceased by sisters Dorothy and Patricia and brothers Frederick and Edward. Brother-in-law to Lynette Young Anderson (PJ) and Uncle to Jason and Kelly Young.
Graham was born in Montreal the youngest of eight children. His drive for a career and his strong work ethic started early. He obtained his C.A. at 24, by attending night school at 16, while working during the day. He began his career with McDonald Currie in Montreal and then Coopers & Lybrand. For the last two decades, he orchestrated the annual Toronto Christmas lunch for the Montreal Coopers & Lybrand ''old boys''. He then worked at Monitor Underwriting Management (a reorganization of Stewart Smith Group) as Vice President and Treasurer. In 1972, at the age of 34, Graham moved his family and career to Toronto to be President & CEO of Markel Financial Holdings. As such, he was instrumental in establishing the company as a market leader. In turn, Graham became recognized as a visionary in the Insurance industry.
Reflecting his keen interest in real estate development, Graham served as CFO of Graywood Developments for nearly 30 years. The final achievement of Graham's career was his stewardship in securing the financing for the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto while the global financial markets collapsed in 2008.
A man of natural grace, wit, charm - a big teddy bear. Revered as a visionary with exceptional ability, varied experience and solid achievement, he was known to be wise with numbers and skilled at reading between the lines. Farsighted in innovative financing issues - some say a maverick. A determined and principled man who always put everyone else before himself - selfless.
Graham had a passionate interest in Rosseau Lake College and served on its board in the capacity of Treasurer and Chairman for more than 20 years. Other accomplishments, during his tenure, was overseeing the construction and growth of the school's new residence and academic buildings.
A private, loyal and highly ethical individual, Graham was always humble about his achievements. His values and character were moulded by his mother; his education, both formal and informal; his family; and, as he would say ''life experiences''. All of this resulted in his many wonderful qualities: compassion, respect of others, politeness, tolerance, decisiveness, a great laugh, generosity - a true gentleman. His stories always had sequential thought, and notable purpose, poignantly delivering advice and his contagious humour if deemed appropriate. He savoured good wine, single malt Scotch, had an insatiable appetite for fine food and was completely passionate about fine art. With his ability to be objective and to listen, Graham was a mentor to colleagues, friends and family - your secret was safe with him. We will all miss his advice, guidance, hugs and warm handshake. When a problem had to be solved, he was the ''go-to'' guy for family, friends and business associates. He believed that everyone was equal, and admired people for being themselves. His large stature created a presence to be felt by all whom he met. He was a true patriarch whose gentle kindness and humility will resonate with his children and grandchildren for generations. Known to his grandchildren as ''Big Daddy'', Graham certainly lived up to his name! For many, Graham's absence will leave a hole which will be impossible to fill.
Words cannot express gratitude for the exceptional health care Graham received. No tribute would be complete without a sincere, heartfelt ''thank you'' to Dr. Michael Baker and Dr. Coleman Rotstein who, in Graham's words, ''kept the engines working!'' A special thank you to all the caring individuals and dedicated doctors, nurses and different ''teams'' (as Graham loved to refer to them) at UHN - especially Dr. Christine Cserti, Dr, Vlad Dzavik, Dr. James Scholey, Dr. Katina Tzanetos and Dr. Henry Fiala.
Please join his family, for a celebration of his life and friendship, at THE GRANITE CLUB, 2350 Bayview Avenue, Toronto at 12 noon on Tuesday, January 8, 2013. In lieu of flowers, and in appreciation of the incredible care and compassion provided to Graham, donations would be gratefully received to support the research of Dr. Coleman Rotstein of the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, 416-340-3935 or visit www.tgwhf.ca. Funeral arrangements under the direction of the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles Chapel Ltd., Toronto, 416-487-4523. Condolences and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.

Back to top