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Born: Sep 26, 1934

Date of Passing: Mar 08, 2023

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September 26, 1934 – March 8, 2023

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Dick Bonnycastle, on March 8, 2023 at home, with his beloved wife Kathy and faithful companions Ellie and Skunker by his side. Also known as Rich, U.R., Uncle Bones and Tonner, the incomparable RICHARD A. N. BONNYCASTLE was a proud Winnipegger, westerner, investor, racehorse owner/breeder, publisher, sportsman, conservationist, philanthropist, lifelong wagerer, brother, uncle, stepfather, godfather, cousin, friend, and loving husband who showed surprisingly daring moves on a dance floor.
Dick was born in Winnipeg on September 26, 1934, son of the late Mary (Northwood) and Richard Henry Gardyne Bonnycastle. Educated at Ravenscourt School, Winnipeg; Trinity College School (star on first team football); and the University of Manitoba (B. Comm. 1956) his first job was as a corporate underwriter for the Great West Life Assurance Company. Concurrently he founded Cavendish Investing Ltd., to which, commencing in 1968, he devoted most of his time and much passion.
Over the course of his working life, Dick was involved with or invested in a long list of ventures. He co-owned and operated Harlequin Enterprises; publisher of Harlequin Romance books, and owned and operated Harlequin Ranches, a thoroughbred horse racing stable and two cattle operations, Goose Lake Cattle Company, and Bar TH Ranching Ltd. He always maintained that he began his investing/ranching career at the age of nine with the purchase of his first calf, raised at his cousin's Cross Bar Ranch in Consort, Alberta.
A member of the Jockey Club of Canada and former president of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, Dick was forever seeking a winner. He owned numerous racehorses over many years and had significant racing success with GOLD STRIKE, 2005 Sovereign Award Champion who foaled RICH STRIKE, winner of the 2022 Kentucky Derby.
Comfortable in top hat and tails as he was in his cowboy hat and boots in a branding pen and of course in a suit and tie in corporate boardrooms, Dick served on over 50 public and private company boards including as Chairman at the CDIC, and as a Director for TORSTAR Ltd., publisher of the Toronto Star.
An original thinker, Dick loved negotiating and re-negotiating a deal or any transaction, buying and selling stocks on the market, prospecting for gold, iron ore, emeralds, and investing in any new invention - be it a process or a technology.
More than anything else though, Dick believed in giving back. As successful as he was at making money, he was equally as zealous giving it away. Dick gave significant amounts to a huge range of organizations and countless individuals in need including The Nature Conservancy, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (which he helped found), Banff Centre for the Arts, the Calgary Health Trust and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, to name only a few that he supported.
Dick was also an avid supporter of rodeo cowboys, rodeos around Alberta and especially of the Calgary Stampede – always sharing his "best seats in the house" and for years supporting the "Get your Head in a Hat Campaign" donating cowboy hats to be given out for free. He was a legendary host at his annual Stampede Breakfast and Brandings at RR#5, at Bells Island on Lake of the Woods, at Beaufortwood in the UK, at his home in Borrego Springs, at racetracks in California, and at his condos in Lake Louise, Victoria and Ocala.
Dick made friends and fans for life everywhere he went. His kindness, warmth and good humour were genuine, and he remains famous for his epic generosity. He liked to spoil people and Dick was known to give help and support to friends, family, colleagues and strangers. His door was always open and he helped fix things: Broken down cars and broken hearts. A most sublime friend and mentor, he was the guy we all went to in a crisis, and he never failed to give his wisdom and sage advice.
Dick didn't have airs or an ego. Whether a Sheikh or a janitor, he treated everyone equally and he rooted for the underdogs. His happiest times were spent fishing, duck hunting and card playing, golfing, watching the NFL and MLB, and wagering with friends at rodeos and horse races. Dick was the impetus and creator of many happy times, and he enjoyed the finer things in life: vintage wines, Coca Cola, hot dogs, roast beef, fresh caught pickerel, peas, sushi, scratch and win lotto tickets, books and the ladies.
In 2003 Kathy, who shared his passion for horses, came into his orbit and then he only had eyes for her. They settled into a home life on their acreage east of Calgary with many dogs, horses and a vista of the Rocky Mountains, and Kathy and her "big guy" married in July 2012 and celebrated at the races (of course!)
Dick is survived by his wife Linda Kathleen (Kathy) Bonnycastle and her children Tanya, Natalie, Megan, Kim, Thor and their families. His sister Honor de Pencier and her husband Michael, his brother-in-law Kenneth Burgess (Mary) and his treasured nieces and nephews, Nicholas, Miranda, and Mark de Pencier, Genevieve and Cristina Burgess and their families, an astounding list of dear friends and many extended family members around the world including the Gattey, Bousquet, Hughes and Ogren clans. He was predeceased by his much-loved sister Judith Burgess and nephew Richard Burgess.
His family would like to thank Carlyn Dahl for her 40 plus years of unwavering support, Dr. Susan Lea Makenny for her compassionate care, along with Ben, Chantel and Yukiko for their long-time tending of Dick and Kathy.
No public memorial service will be held and no flowers please. Private services will be held in summer 2023.
We will miss Dick's infectious smile, booming laughter, and extraordinary can-do spirit. He leaves a massive hole in the world and in a colossal number of hearts, but his lessons, advice and bright light will live on for generations. Remember Dick by enjoying a good laugh, eating a Mr. Big chocolate bar, cheering on the Blue Jays, supporting a rodeo, watching a horse race, mentoring a young person, giving back, or playing a game of Crib.

To express condolences and share memories, please visit:

Mountain View Funeral Home

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 18, 2023

Condolences & Memories (2 entries)

  • Condolences to the family. Harlequin was my life for a full career. Richard and I never met but his obituary tells his great life story. - Posted by: Richard Simpson (Harlequin Employee) on: Mar 20, 2023

  • My sincere condolences to all who knew Dick. We are all feeling a profound loss today. Dick was a great mentor, generous supporter and a lot of fun. He was a vital member of the Delta Board in the 1970s and 1980s, and absolutely critical to the birth of the IWWR in 1992. His Graduate Fellowships in the name of his father, have sustained a generation of bright young conservation stars and his list of accomplishments in other arenas is truly staggering. For a man of his accomplishments he remained down to earth and unburdened by ego. He lived life on a grand scale! He was profoundly important to me, personally, during the most difficult period of my professional life and I will always remember his support and sage advice. His family has written a wonderful obituary which I commend to your attention. Rest in Peace old friend - Posted by: Mike Anderson (Friend) on: Mar 18, 2023

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