Christopher Seán Day, beloved father, husband, friend, and adventurer, died peacefully at home with his family in Greenwich, CT, on July 27, 2023. He was 74.
Please click on the link below to read an article written by long-time friend and co-founder of the Lawhill programme, Mr Brian Ingpen, pictured left with Mr C. Sean Day.
Born in Cape Town to Joan and Eric Day, from his parents, he inherited his moral compass, stoicism, and independent spirit. Mr Day grew up first in Cape Town and later in Knysna, South Africa, during the apartheid regime. His family strongly opposed the movement, and his parents had relocated to South Africa from Ireland in 1948 as part of General Jan Smuts’ efforts to defeat the Nationalist Party. At just six years old,
Mr Day began attending boarding school at the South African College School in Cape Town, from which he graduated. Mr Day loved ships and the sea from his earliest memories, and at 17, he followed this passion and enrolled in the South Africa Merchant Marine Academy. He then spent several years at sea as a cadet in the merchant marine. In 1968, he resumed his studies at the University of Cape Town, earning a degree in business.
While a student at UCT, he competed in the first Cape to Rio Yacht Race—the longest continent-to-continent sailing yacht race in the southern hemisphere—as a crew member aboard the Merchant Marine Academy boat.
Mr Day was awarded a Rhodes scholarship, and after completing his national military service as a navigating officer on a destroyer in the South African Navy, he studied law at Oxford University in England beginning in 1972.
After graduating from Oxford, Mr Day joined the Scottish trading house Jardine Matheson in Hong Kong, where he served as commercial manager of their ship-owning group, the Indo-China Steam Navigation Company. Following two years in Hong Kong and one year in Taipei with Jardines, he joined the Canadian ship-owning group Fed Nav as an operations manager based in Montreal, Canada. During this time,
Mr Day met his future wife, Virginia (Ginny) Farrell, then a student at Harvard Business School. They married in 1981 and settled in New York. In 1982 he joined Navios Corporation.
After restructuring and restoring Navios, Mr Day briefly left the shipping industry to work at Citicorp Venture Capital for several years. In 1989, he rejoined Navios and eventually became CEO. In 1999, he joined the Teekay Corporation as its chairman until 2017.
At the time of his death, he was Chairman Emeritus of Teekay Corporation and Compass Diversified. During his life, he served on many boards, including Navios Corporation, Teekay Tankers, Teekay Offshore Partners, Teekay LNG Partners, Compass Diversified Holdings, Teekay Corporation and Kirby Corporation.
Throughout his life, Mr Day worked to create better educational opportunities in South Africa. In 1997, alongside his former teacher and mentor, John Ince, Seán started the Friends of South African Schools (FOSAS) to ensure equitable education post-apartheid.
He was also a strong supporter of the Lawhill Maritime Centre in Simon’s Town, led by his lifelong friend, Brian Ingpen. Lawhill focuses on job creation in South Africa through maritime education at the high school level.
A lifelong explorer, Mr Day completed several long yacht races and passages around the world, from Hong Kong and Manila to Bermuda and Rio.
He traveled to at least 123 countries over the course of his life, including an expedition to the North Pole for his 60th birthday.
His instinct was always to get to the top of the mountain or the edge of the cliff.
He was a proud member of YPO in the Fairchester and the Intercontinental Chapters, and those friendships enriched his life with wisdom and adventures in the far reaches of the world.
Closer to home, his Friday night tennis games were legendary for their competitiveness and laughter.
Above all, Mr Day was a family man. He was a devoted husband for nearly 43 years, a loving father to four daughters and three sons-in-law, and a treasured grandfather to nine grandchildren. Of his many accomplishments, they are his most meaningful.
In the words of Mr Day’s close friend, Joe Massoud, “he was the true definition of a ‘gentleman.’ He embodied everything I always understood to be the definition of a great man – he was family focused, humble, kind, philanthropic, intelligent, authentic and generous with his talents and relationships.”
Mr Day made his way in the world, but never moved on from those he valued. Throughout his life, despite living far away, he stayed close to his childhood friends and the band of brothers with whom he shared Oxford.
From every facet of his life, he maintained an enormous circle of international friends with whom he was in frequent contact. He is famous among his friends and loved ones for never forgetting a birthday.
(Adapted from https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/greenwich-ct/christopher-day-11386608)