Sunday, June 16, 2024
June 16, 2024


CAMPBELL, James McGeer

July 13, 1918 – Nov. 29, 2015

A Gulf Islands icon left us on Sunday, November 29, when James McGeer Campbell died at Greenwoods Eldercare on Salt Spring Island. Jim Campbell, who along with his wife Lorraine has been a fixture on Saturna Island for 70 years, was 97.

Jim and Lorraine came to Saturna in 1945 to farm property owned by Lorraine’s father. Those familiar with the Campbell Farm understand why they never left. They raised four children in an idyllic location long reachable only by foot or horse, or by boat and tractor. They opened their home and the farm, including cottages at Saturna Beach, to pretty much anyone — students, families, travellers — who shared their passion for the place. The Dominion Day Lamb Barbeque began at Saturna Beach in 1950, and attracted boaters from throughout the Pacific Northwest for four decades before it moved to Winter Cove.

Jim was a deeply curious, thoughtful, quick-witted personality, with no shortage of firmly held opinions, and a brilliant storyteller’s ability to deliver them. His fervent belief in the sanctity of public process also informed a very active political life. Along with Lorraine, he was committed to community service, a trait that ran deep in his family. His father, Charles McKinnon Campbell, Sr., was a mining engineer with a strong conservation ethic long before that was fashionable. His uncle, Gerald Grattan McGeer, was twice mayor of Vancouver, as well as an MLA, MP and Senator. Jim Campbell was congenitally and by disposition a Liberal, and was involved with the party for much of his life.

Jim served for 10 years on the Capital Regional District Board, seven as chairman, 12 years on the Gulf Islands School Board, and a term as head of the BC School Trustees Association. He served for two years on the Islands Trust, and was a vigorous advocate for its core mandate to preserve and protect the Gulf Islands.

After the turn of the millennium, concerned about overdevelopment in the Gulf Islands, he and Lorraine sold and donated a significant portion of their farm — including more than two kilometres of waterfront and Saturna’s glorious Taylor Point — to the federal government to form part of the new Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

Jim was born in the mining community of Phoenix, B.C., and also lived in Grand Forks, Vancouver, Cassidy, Montreal, and Okiep, South Africa, before returning to Vancouver in 1929. He studied agriculture at UBC, where he met Lorraine. They married on Dec. 29, 1944, and lived briefly in Halifax, where Jim served as captain of a Halifax-based Fairmile patrol ship during World War 2.

He is survived by Jean Lorraine Campbell (nee Thomson), daughters Nan Logan and Jacques (Jackie) Campbell, son Tom Campbell, grandchildren Faedra, Ian, Andrew, James and Mary Grace, and three great grandchildren, Christopher, Mckenna, and Ana Margaret. He was predeceased by his son James McGeer Campbell, Jr., and his older siblings Charles and Mary (Mim).

A memorial event will take place on Saturday, December 19, between noon and 4 pm at the Saturna Recreation Centre. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Saturnina Foundation (P.O. Box 112, Saturna Island, V0N 2Y0) or the charity of your choice.

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