February 28th, 1933 to June 12, 2021 ~ Mary passed peacefully at home in Richard’s Landing on St. Joseph’s Island (Ontario) surrounded by family.
She is survived by her beloved husband of 68 years, Daniel; children Michael, Stephen (Pat) and Teresa Caughill (Neil); cherished Grandma to Andrea Kattlus (Scott), Lisa Royce (Jason) and Graeme Caughill (Jann); Granny to Reed, Eden, Devon, Belle and Malcolm; sister of Sally Wismer (late Bob), Bonnie Trudeau (Joe), the late Sandy MacDonald (Fran), Dan MacDonald (Jan), the late Susan Alton (Lorne); sister-in-law of the late Fran Campbell (Vicky), the late Malachy Campbell (Doris), the late Agnes Duncan (Bill), the late Mary Healy (Ted), the late Lee Campbell, the late Ray Campbell, Bonnie Ring (Vic) and the late Dorothy Upton. Fondly remembered by many nieces and nephews across the country.
Mary “Jiggs” Campbell was born in Wiarton, Ontario on February 28th, 1933. The eldest of six children to Margaret (née Young) and Stuart MacDonald, she moved to Margaret’s family home of Richard’s Landing on St. Joseph’s Island as a youngster. After finishing high school, the beautiful young woman enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was posted to the base on Sea Island in Vancouver, B.C. as a Leading Air Woman (L.A.W.)
It was there, at the famous Crystal Pool, she met a handsome young Flight Lieutenant, the son of an Irish immigrant blacksmith from Saskatoon, Daniel Campbell.Things happened fast for young couples in the years following World War II and they were married – in Vancouver – on April 13th, 1953, but not before she left the RCAF (officers were not allowed to consort with enlisted women) and took instruction in the Catholic faith.
Almost nine months to the day later, in January 1954, their first child, son Michael, was born and by the age of twenty-six, she was the mother of three (son Stephen in late 1955 and daughter Teresa in early 1959), living the itinerant life of a frequently absent officer’s wife. While that might sound exhilarating to some, corralling three spirited kids wasn’t always a joy, and discipline invariably included threats of, “wait until your father gets home!!!”
As the matriarch of an Air Force family, she was necessarily forced to move on a regular basis. In the first eighteen years of marriage she moved houses eleven times in eight different cities; from the West Coast to the East Coast. No mean feat for anyone but Mary made friends everywhere she went and stayed close to many of them, years, or even decades, later.
Living off-base, or on, Mary was fully engaged in military life, whether laughing it up at the officer’s mess or hosting fabulous parties and get-togethers for friends and relatives wherever she lived. She was an avid curler and enjoyed road-trip “bonspieling” with the other wives and occasionally getting up to more spirited hi-jinks… Like the time she and two other officers’ wives decided to sabotage the very serious war games at CFB Summerside by talking their way onto the base and kidnaping the base commander. That stunt not only messed up the exercise, it got them thrown into the brig – a situation that only resolved itself when she explained to her jailers that she had to get home to cook dinner for her family. Mercifully, husband Dan – by then Major Campbell – was in the air at the time.
She was an excellent cook. She was an uncomplaining den mother to her children’s bevy of friends, happily feeding neighbourhood strays whenever the situation required it. And her children’s friends loved her for it; many of them continued to visit, even after her own children had moved out and were no longer around!
Mary was also the rare woman who actually loved sports. She grew up watching the baseball Tigers on Detroit TV from Sault, Michigan and then transferred allegiance first to the Montreal Expos and then to her beloved Toronto Blue Jays. She took her sons to watch the BC Lions’ spring training practices when the family lived in Courtenay on Vancouver Island and dutifully attended football and basketball games when Mike and Steve were in high school.
She was a voracious reader who was also curious about the world. One of her greatest joys was travel and she was forever grateful to be given the opportunity to get to Europe on several occasions, even if she was so afraid of heights that on a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome’s Vatican City, she had to crawl on her hands and knees to get to the railing on the plaza below the dome to take in the view.
In 1971, she and Dan – with help from family members – undertook the building of The Clansmen Motel. It provided income for her mother and then-retired father, as well as daughter Teresa but the longer view was as a business for her and Dan once he finally retired, later in the decade. In the mid 70s, she was a great help to Mike and Steve who were both, again, living at home while attending university in Ottawa. Her English – and typing – skills came in handy on numerous occasions with class assignment deadlines that the boys, as usual, pushed to the limit.
Finally, in 1978, Mary and Dan moved to St. Joe’s for good and settled into life on the Island, a place they both loved. The motel kept them busy until 2001,when daughter Teresa and her husband Neil took over the business and they moved across the road to Littleton St. Mary always had a book at hand – mostly forensic murder mysteries, for some reason – and continued her love of sports: watching the Jays, going to Sault Greyhound games and yelling at the TV during World Junior hockey tournaments. Mary was a staunch supporter of Royal Canadian Legion branch #374 and also the ultimate groupie for the Ross Phillips Band for many years that included daughter Teresa.
Her life revolved around her husband, her children, her grandchildren and eventually her great-grandchildren. And, of course, the friends she made along life’s journey.
Mary was a gem, a warm and beautiful person; a singular person, as are we all who find ourselves wending our own way through life thanks to her gift of birth to us.
Oh, it should also be noted that she had the most exquisite penmanship we’ve ever seen. Godspeed, she was, and is, loved…
Thank you to Drs. Beller, Lupien and Gupta and staff of the Matthews Memorial Hospital, Bridgelink Medical Clinic and McKay’s Island Pharmacy for Mary’s care over the years and to the wonderful team of care givers and nurses out of the Trefry Centre Program as well as the Algoma Care Partners headed up by Dr. Janet McLeod. We can’t thank you all enough for the exceptional care and compassion that you showed to Mary. We would also like to acknowledge nurse Jessica, care givers Nathan, Karlee and especially Jenny, and nurse Amy. A special thank you to Father Veselko Kvesic from St. Boniface Catholic Church for administering Mary’s Last Rites.
A Private interment will be held by the family. We would like to encourage friends and family to take the time to celebrate Mary’s life together in your own special way.
Memorial contributions (payable by cheque or online) in Mary’s Memory can be made to: The Matthews Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Site, St. Boniface Catholic Church on St. Joseph’s Island or the Richard’s Landing Children’s Library.
Arrangements entrusted to the Arthur Funeral Home – Barton & Kiteley Chapel (492 Wellington St. East 705-759-2522). Please visit www.arthurfuneralhome.com to leave a message of condolence as a keepsake for the family.