Northport Systems founder loses cancer battle

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Software manufacturer Northport Systems Inc. announced that company founder Samuel Arthur Rea Jr. died Dec. 18 following a two-year battle with cancer. He was 67.

Rea grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind. He graduated from Harvard University in 1966, earned a doctorate in economics from Harvard University in 1972 and joined the University of Toronto’s faculty in 1971.

He wrote four books and dozens of scholarly articles on labor economics, and law and economics, focusing on torts, contract law and insurance. In 1982-83 he was the Civil Liability Fellow at Yale Law School. Rea also was a consultant to the federal government on matters related to unemployment insurance and pensions and frequently appeared as an expert witness in Canadian courts.

After taking early retirement from the University of Toronto in 1995, Rea founded Northport Systems and developed Fugawi marine and terrestrial mapping software, which is used by boaters and mariners worldwide.

He retired from Northport Systems in 2010, selling his stake in the company to Robin Martel, who is now its president and CEO.

“In the 10 years that Sam and I worked together he proved not only a great mentor, but a great friend,” Martel said in a statement. “Sam’s friendship and humor will be missed, but his insight and dedication to perfection will live on as Northport Systems continues to expand upon the vision Sam fostered over the past 15 years.”

An avid skier and an impassioned boater, Rea and his wife, Wendy Thompson, raced and cruised extensively for 40 years. Together they sailed 20,000 miles during the 2005-2009 winters as they explored the Caribbean and the U.S. East Coast on their 50-foot sailboat, Maestro.

Rea is survived by his wife and a daughter, Sarah Rea.

A private interment will take place and a celebration of Rea’s life will be held today in Toronto.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Gerry & Nancy Pencer Brain Tumor Centre or the Kensington Hospice via www.etouch.ca.

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