August 9, 2023
In loving memory ~
It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of Christopher Moger Campbell on August 9, 2023, surrounded by family. Chris was a Scientist, a family man, a leader, a sailor, and a lover of fine foods and wines. Chris will be sadly missed by many, as his influence and care knew no bounds. He will be loved and remembered by his beloved wife and best friend, Gillian (Gilly), of 53 years. Since the day they met at the first dance at the University of Bangor, in Wales, they have been a source of inspiration to others with their open hearts, fearless spirit of adventure, and kindness that is unmatched.
Chris is survived by his mother, Barbara; his Sisters, Sally and Rosanne; his brother, Peter; his wife, Gill; their two sons, Nick (Ashley) and Alex (Samantha); and Nick’s two young children, Henry and Max. Chris was born March 5th, 1949, in Poltimore, a small village outside Exeter, England, to father Desmond (deceased) and mother Barbara in a small hospital that no longer exists. It was post-war England, and Chris’ parents lived with his grandparents in the village of Silverton. Sally and Barbara still live there; she will be 100 in November. His parents then moved to Rewe Fruit Farm and soon had four children under four: Chris, twins Sally and Peter, and finally Rosanne. And so life began as a small farmer, out with anyone who would allow him to tag along, speaking with a Devonian accent. (He always picked up the local sounds, becoming a passable Parisian and then Canadian later in life.)
Chris’ first memories date back to being three years old on a tractor with his father, whom he adored and who shaped the man Chris became. Chris attended the village school with the twins and then Norwood School in Exeter. Tiverton Grammar School followed, where his horizons were broadened by Mr. Lamplugh, his Biology teacher. Bangor University, in North Wales, was his next step. He was given his Great-aunt’s small, green Austin that had probably never been over 20 mph! And so began a love of cars, yachts, and speed!
Chris earned a BSc. in Marine Biology from Bangor University in 1970, after which he and Gill moved to Newfoundland, where he earned a PhD. from Memorial University in St. John’s. Chris continued his academic studies with post-doctoral research in France for 2 years in the mid-seventies, eventually returning to Newfoundland and gaining Canadian residency. While his career had many changes along the way, he was steadfast to do the right thing for the planet and all those on it. With his deep knowledge of marine science, Chris was involved in many of the issues that saw the transformation and ultimate collapse of the northern cod fishery and the rise of offshore oil development and its impacts on the environment. With this extensive background, Chris was appointed Vice President of the Marine Institute and led the team that was tasked with transforming it from a purely training institute to a key element in the research and development community in Eastern Canada.
Chris and Gill were mentors to many and had a positive effect on the trajectory of their lives. They were welcoming and generous hosts to friends and colleagues at animated dinners and parties at their home. All were welcome around their table. In his private life, Chris was an enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable sailor who competed fiercely in Newfoundland and in national competition in Lasers and keel boats. In doing so, he brought many into the sport.
In 1993, the family, along with their dog Flair, moved out west to settle in Nanaimo, where they lived for 30 years in a home that was intended as a temporary settling place, making this their lifetime home. Chris tried his hand at farming spot prawns but eventually moved on to other endeavours when that wasn’t working.
The final years of Chris’s career were spent building OREG (Ocean Research Energy Group), a non-profit enterprise that was his pride and joy and combined his love for marine research and renewable energies. He met with governments all over the globe to plant the seed for a brighter future. OREG, now Marine Renewables Canada, carries on, and his legacy that will be one of helping save a planet he loved so dearly. Whether you met Chris walking his dog Oz around Nanaimo, at the yacht club, or at an energy conference somewhere far away, it was easy to see that you had met someone extraordinary, fiercely intelligent, and kind.
He will be dearly missed by many and celebrated for years to come.
A Celebration of Chris Campbell’s life will be held on August 20th at the Royal Nanaimo Yacht Club. The event will begin at 2:30 p.m., and much like Chris’s home, all are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, Chris would prefer to see donations made to the BC Cancer Foundation or The Ronald McDonald House Charity for Kids.
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