Old St. Andrews



Obituary of Sir James Dunn



St. Croix Courier
Jan 5/1956
Sir James Dunn Rites are Held
Funeral for Sir James Hamet Dunn, 81, world-famed industrialist and financier who died at his home in St. Andrews Sunday at 12:30 noon after an illness of less than a week, was held privately Tuesday morning at Fernhill crematorium, Saint John.
            Service was conducted by Rev. Canon Joseph McAlden of St. Andrews. Only members of Sir James’ immediate family and staff at St. Andrews attended.
            A memorial service will be held this afternoon (Thursday) at 2 o’clock at St. Luke’s Pro-Cathedral at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
            Dr. E.A. Stewart of SA, who had been attending Sir James, said he died from a heart ailment. Dr. John Oille, a leading Canadian heart specialist, was flown from Toronto after Sir James’ illness entered a critical stage.
            Sir James’ son and heir to the baronetcy, Philip Gordon Dunn, 50, flew from London, England, and was at his father’s bedside when he died.
            Besides his son, he is survived by his widow, Lady Dunn, the former Marcia Christoforides, whom he married in 1942, and four daughters Mrs. Robert Adeane, Mrs. Charles Dutton, Countess Peter Wollf-Metternick and Ann Dunn.
            Sir James Dunn, who rose from a clerkship in a Bathurst law office, to become one of the Canada’s most fabulous millionaires had maintained his St. Andrews home, Dayspring, since 1945.
            In 1920, while in England, he was made a baronet for secret industrial services carried out on behalf of the British government during World War I. To stop the flow of nickel from neutral European countries was one his reported assignments. Sir James was born at Bathurst Oct 29, 1874. His father, Robert, a shipbuilder in the waning days of wooden ships, died when Dunn was a year old.
            After he left high school and went to work in a Bathurst law firm, he met two other clerks, Dick Bennett and Max Aitken. All eventually became great public figures and all won titles. Rt. Hon. R. B. Bennett was prime minister of Canada and later a member of the House of Lords, while Aitken became Lord Beaverbrook, publisher of the London Daily Express.
            Counting his pennies to finance his tuition, James Dunn enrolled at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS. He once worked as a deckhand to keep himself in college. Graduating in law in 1899, he was subsequently admitted to the bars of NS, Quebec, Northwest Territories and Ontario. After graduation, he went to Calgary with Max Aitken, where Bennett had already established himself and the three-way friendship formed in those days continued through the years.
            Sir James returned east to Ottawa where he entered a law partnership and by 1892 [sic] he had gained a healthy reputation. Bowwoing $20,000 he bought a seat on the Montreal stock exchange and after selling $1,090,000 worth of bonds for Havana Electric Co. in London, he formed his own banking house there and opened continental branches.
            From that point, his career progressed by leaps and bounds and by the time he was 40, he was a multi-millionaire.
            Sir James’ connection with Algoma Steel Corp. began in 1907 and by 1935 he had emerged as chairman, president and principal owner of the company. Putting modern machinery into operation, he turned a defunct business into one of Canada’s most important steel industries and he saved Sault Ste. Marie at a time when its people began to drift elsewhere seeking employment.
            gaining control of Canada Steamship Lines in 1951, Sir James found himself operating a fleet of 50 Great Lakes freighters, a fleet of tugs, grain elevators and hotels. One of the biggest bulk carriers on the lakes, the $5,000,000 Sir James Dunn, was included in his freighter fleet.
            Sir James had numerous honorary degrees conferred on him during his lifetime from various universities.  These institutions included Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS; Bishop’s University, Lennoxville, Quebec; Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario; Mount Allison university, Sackville; St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish; Sacred Heart University, Bathurst.
            Making many public donations, chiefly to the causes of health and education, Sir James endowed many universities with scholarships and professorships. Sir James had been providing the University of NB with a series of graduate and under-graduate scholarships value at $5,000 a year since 1947.
            One result of these donations, the thesis of a Sir James Dunn Scholar, A. B. Baldwin, on Bathurst ores, was instrumental in the base metal discoveries in that area.
            Sir James also presented a professorship to Mount Allison University to be maintained by Algoma for 25 years to help the university develop its geology facilities. Dalhousie university received both a chair and a foundation in law from him and Laval University in Montreal receives $10,000 annually for a chair in its school of mines.
            Among his foundations was Bathurst Hospital. He contributed to Charlotte County hospital. He was president of Algoma Ore Properties Ltd., Cannelton Coal and boke C., Lake Superior Coal, Co., Elborn Limestone Co., and Canadian Furnace Co.
            Less than a year ago, Sir James gave $25,000 to UNB for the establishment of a chair in geology. The many philanthropies of Sir James Dunn were recognized publicly during the 1955 session of the Legislature when a member referred to him as a great son and benefactor of NB.