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18 November 2012

Posted by PAB on 18 November 2012 in Diary |

The following has been written by Karl Volz, Mark’s son-in-law, married to Chloe. We thought this might be of interest to some of his blog readers.

PROFESSOR D MARK CATO – OBITUARY

Born on 18th August 1934, Professor Cato emerged from an inauspicious upbringing, and travelled the world in pursuit of his fortune, spending his early adult years in Australia and the Middle East. Whilst in Aden, he met and fell headlong for Alice Nanney-Wynn, and pursued her with characteristic zeal until she accepted his proposal. They were married at Holy Trinity Brompton, Knightsbridge in March 1963. Shortly after the birth of Miles, their son, some 13 months later, Professor Cato abandoned his itinerant lifestyle and settled in East Anglia, where a daughter, Chloe, was born in 1967. He lived happily in his Essex village idyll with Alice until his death on 12th November 2012.

Initially trained as a chartered surveyor and involved in international property developments and housing charities, he began active practice as an Arbitrator and dispute resolution consultant in the late 1980’s. It was in this field that he became a pre-eminent practitioner and prolific author and lecturer, founding the Arbitration Club in 1990, from which the International Arbitration Club was later born, and having published several seminal and innovative books including three editions of Arbitration Practice and Procedure, The Sanctuary House Case and The Expert in Litigation and Arbitration. He lectured extensively both at home and overseas including in Australia, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kenya and Zimbabwe, but it was in China that his dynamic academic presentations were rewarded with his appointment as Professor of Law at Beijing University and as Visiting Professor at the Shardong Institute of Architecture & Engineering. Other accolades followed both in the United Kingdom and beyond, and Professor Cato became a popular and admired figure, renowned for his common sense and humane approach to dispute resolution and for his innate thirst for justice, as well as for his lively wit, his erudition and his amusing anecdotes.

Professor Cato exuded similar vigour and variety beyond the field of Law, being the inaugural (joint) World Monopoly Champion in 1977 and having played The William Tell Overture on his teeth on Radio 4’s Today Programme (to the great amusement of presenters and listeners alike). He became an irrepressible and regular presence at Lord’s cricket, dressed auspiciously in his MCC cap and tie, and supping champagne in the front rows of the Warner Stand, appreciatively watching a sport he singularly failed ever to master as a player! In contrast he was an excellent golfer and for 40 years played regularly at both Aberdovey, Merioneth and the Royal Worlington at Newmarket with his beloved dog, Woody at heal.

Perhaps his abiding contribution – above even this litany of achievement both professional and personal – was in his hours of greatest darkness, during a protracted debilitating illness. Diagnosed with motor neurone disease in January 2008, he resolved from an early stage to start a blog, entitled D Mark Cato’s Blog – Dying to Live, through which he sought to bring succour to similar sufferers. However, as the blog gained momentum, and acquired followers from around the world, reaching in excess of 3 million hits in the 43 months during which he shared his thoughts, experiences, madcap inventions and constant good humour, its audience broadened well beyond its originally intended scope. Through it, he provided inspiration and solace to many, and his motto carpe diem was one by which he abided with unerring grace and dignity, in even his most intense moments of suffering, until his death.

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