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I'm Very, Very Sad Today!


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Every year we have our shareholders dinner at Joe Badali's, and many of you thank me for holding it.  Our wonderful representatives who come from Fairfax and speak to all of you, the terrific hats everyone got last year...they all happened because of one person...no, not Prem.  Her name was Jo Ann Butler and she's the one who deserves all your thanks.  Anything you liked about our dinners, she probably came up with the idea other than the location!


Jo Ann is the first person who receives correspondence addressed to Prem.  She read my first letter to Prem sometime back in 2001.  Along with Francis, they set up my day at Fairfax's office back in 2005, which eventually led to Alnesh and I starting Corner Market Capital and the MPIC Funds.  During the heyday of the short attacks, she would read the board religiously and forward messages to Prem whenever shareholder's seemed to be getting erroneous news from hedge funds, analysts and the media.  Jo Ann always looked after Fairfax's shareholders! 


The first person I would see every year when I went to Toronto was Jo Ann.  Every day after the AGM, she always went back to the office to work, but would arrange for me to come by and bring whoever was with me.  She would let us tour Fairfax's office, including their library room...each year without fail!  Afterwards, she would usually give me tickets to the Raptors game.  Last year, because I took Calonego and Peter Lindmark to the office, she gave me four tickets to the Blue Jays game.  I've seen Reggie Miller's final game of his career, a Blue Jay's game that went into the 13th inning, and one year Doug Gilmour sat right next to me.  For those of you that aren't hockey fans, Doug Gilmour is a God in Buffalo and Toronto, and he was Jo Ann's favorite player.


I usually talked to Jo Ann every few days either by email or phone.  She was a die-hard Leaf's fan who absolutely loved the game.  We always talked about hockey.  Before she worked at Fairfax, she used to work for the father of our director, Andrew Cooke.  I remember a couple of years ago when Andrew, Alnesh, myself and my friend Ajay Desai went to Fairfax's office to meet Francis, we stayed in the smaller boardroom for about three or four hours, made our own coffee in the kitchen, and sat chatting to Francis.  Jo Ann would pop in, sit down with us, and then rush back to her desk...business never stops at Fairfax!


She was a damn tough Newfie, who had a very soft heart.  I'm sad today, because she didn't win her last battle.  She passed away on the 12th, and going to Toronto just won't be the same again for me.  I hope she knows how much she helped me.  How much I appreciated everything she did.  It helped to change my life in ways where I'm just bewildered each morning.  I get to work with my cousin Monday to Friday...the cousin I grew up with like a brother.  We have our own company and we are managing two investment funds.  I get to do what I dreamed about, but at one point had no idea that it was my dream.  She helped me find it, and each day I feel so fortunate to be doing what I absolutely love.  I'll miss her dearly!



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I thank you for sharing this information of the illness and passing of such a good and vital person. I'm sure the people of Fairfax must feel the loss very deeply, too. The quality of character of the person in such a position of trust as she held says a great deal about management and personnel up and down the operation.


Best to you,


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