During our most recent Paul Harris Fellow night, Rotary Halifax Harbour honoured the late Brian Burnell. Born July 19, 1935, and died September 14, 2021, Brian was a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Halifax.
The following are the remarks of Terry Pond:
Good evening, tonight, I have the privilege of speaking about Rotarian Brian Leonard Burnell. I knew Brian for the nearly 2 decades and can attest that he was an active Rotarian with the Rotary Clubs of Halifax and recently Halifax Harbour throughout his 55 years of Club Service with a classification of  Actuary. I want to acknowledge that three members of Brian’s family are with us tonight - his wife Madge, their son Paul and Paul’s wife Cathy. Brian and Madge’s other son Mark and his wife Tracey live in Calgary and we’re not able to join us this evening. Thank you for being here tonight.
Brian’s bio tells us he was born in 1935 in London, England where he grew up and graduated as an Actuary. In 1959, at age 24, Brian took his first job in the London office of The Mercantile & General Reinsurance Company. Then he transferred to the company’s Canadian office in Toronto which led him to the Chief Actuary appointment with Maritime Life in Halifax in 1962. He met his wife, Madge, 2 weeks after moving to Halifax. They were married 3 years later and he was a devoted husband and father for the next 57 years.
Rotarian Brian Burnell had a quiet pleasing personality. As a Past President in 1996, Brian was asked to write an open letter for the Club Project – the 50th Anniversary of Paul Harris’ death. The project recorded relevant memories in a book titled “Reflections 1913–1997” which afterward a copy was given to all new Rotarians joining the Club. This was the Club’s way of remembering our Founder, Paul Harris and celebrate him in the 84th year of our Club’s history.
Brian wrote about working in his first year on the Club’s pocket format of the Membership Roster, the Easter Seals Program, the Ultimate Moms’ Day Brunch; and the Vacation Draw Fundraiser. By 2004 Brian was the Club Newsletter Editor, the Club Historian and a Senior Club Member. I later learned that he had been Club Treasurer, Secretary and President Elect in succession prior to taking on the mantle of President in 1984/85. Brian was a seasoned Rotarian with extensive knowledge of club activities, a willingness to help others, and a frequent fellowship participant with his wife Madge. He was my best example to others of a true Rotarian.
Tonight, his wife Madge Burnell will receive a Major Rotary Foundation Recognition Award and Lapel Pins on behalf of both herself and her husband Brian as Major Contributors to the Rotary Foundation.
Rotary International Foundation
Rotary International Foundation wrote, “In honour of your contribution, we have enclosed recognition pieces for you to proudly wear or display. Thank you for being a Major Donor of the Rotary Foundation!  We appreciate your outstanding support and everything you do to make the world a better place through Rotary.”
Watch on YouTube
You can watch this event on YouTube by following this link: https://youtu.be/l1Dnm1lYRQM
To learn more about Rotary Halifax Harbour, visit www.rotaryhalifaxharbour.ca.
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