Skip navigation

Thursday August 22, 2013

JAMES MARSHALL TORY March 7, 1930 to August 19, 2013
James Marshall Tory - lawyer, law firm builder, corporate director, community leader and family man - died suddenly at his summer home in Guysborough, Nova Scotia, the place he loved best. With his passing, the law firm that bears his name loses a mentor and leader who has inspired generations of Torys lawyers; the profession of which he was proud to be a part loses an exemplar of its highest and best traditions; and his family loses the loving patriarch who has nurtured and supported them. He was the son of John Stewart Donald Tory and Jean Arnold Tory; twin brother of John and younger brother of Virginia (Denton); and devoted husband of Marilyn (Yorath). He was educated at the University of Toronto Schools, Phillips Academy Andover, the University of Toronto, and the University of Toronto Law School where he was the Gold Medallist in its first graduating class. He maintained a life-long association with the Law School and has been honoured by the endowment of the Dean's Chair in his name. With his brother John, he joined his father's law firm which, soon after their arrival, lost most of its partners. This left the twin brothers and their classmates, Bill DesLauriers and Arthur Binnington, all newly minted lawyers, to carry the load of one of Canada's most substantial corporate law practices. They succeeded despite their youth and together built the firm, which was re-christened Tory, Tory, DesLauriers and Binnington. JMT (as he was always affectionately known at the firm) assumed sole leadership on his brother's departure in 1973 to join Lord Thomson of Fleet. He was a brilliant corporate lawyer, unsurpassed in his ability to find simple and elegant solutions to complex legal problems. However, his technical legal skills were not what distinguished him as a lawyer. What drew clients to him and inspired his colleagues was his superb judgment and absolute integrity. For him, the question was never simply, ''what is legal'', it was ''what is right''. In addition to his busy law practice and firm leadership responsibilities, he was, over a half a century, a corporate director of many leading public and private companies and a trustee of numerous not-for-profit organizations including the Hospital for Sick Children and its Foundation, whose boards he chaired for many years. No mere recitation of biographical details can do justice to the magic of the man. He inspired in all who knew him, not just respect, but enormous affection. He treated everyone equally, whether corporate titan or junior member of law firm staff - with consideration and respect coupled with his trademark gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) teasing. At the centre of his life was his wife Marilyn and family of five children and thirteen grandchildren. For them, he was a quiet but constant presence, never imposing himself, but always available with wise counsel and unwavering support. Each summer, there were wonderful family times at his special place, the Guysborough summer home built by his grandfather to which he returned throughout his life and where he died, surrounded by his family. He leaves behind his children, Martha, James (Cynthia), Suzanne (Stuart) and Richard (Tracy); his daughter-in-law Nicola, widow of his greatly missed son David; and his thirteen grandchildren, Heather and Graham; Sarah, Caroline and Alec; Madeleine, James, Matthew and Charlotte; Julia, Sasha, Marshall and India. The family would like to give its thanks to Cathy Flores, who provided invaluable support and caring through the last years of his life. The family would also like to give its thanks to the staff at the Family Practice at Sunnybrook, and in particular, to Sue Forsythe; and special thanks to the wonderful staff at the Guysborough Memorial Hospital and to his old friend, Dr. Anita Foley, who attended him at the end. A celebration of his life will be held on Wednesday, September 4th at 2:00 pm at the Cathedral of St. James, King St. at Church St., Toronto, followed by a reception at Torys LLP, 33rd floor, TD South Tower, TD Centre. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the James Tory Fund for Studies in Business Law, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, 84 Queen's Park, Toronto, M5S 2 C5, or to a charity of your choice.

Back to top