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Frank CampbellNovember 30, 2017
Campbell, William Francis - July 2, 1921 – November 30, 2017, peacefully passed away, the evening of November 30, at Crocus Court Personal Care Home in Roblin, at the age of 96 years.
Frank was born the middle child of Reginald and Violet Campbell, with four older sisters and four younger brothers. The family farmed a few miles south of the village of Isabella, Manitoba, on land that had been homesteaded in 1882 by his grandfather, Francis Augustus Campbell, who had come from southern Ontario under a government program that provided free land to the descendants of the United Empire Loyalists in return for the erecting of buildings and putting the land under cultivation. In his early years, Frank attended nearby Blaris Church and received his education at Blaris and Isabella Schools. As a youth, he developed a keen interest in hockey and was the goalie on the local hockey team. As it is with family farms, everybody pitched in and Frank, as the eldest son, had considerable responsibility. The threshing machine that they used in the 1930’s still stands at the edge of the farmyard and the family has discovered that Frank made a practice of scratching on its side the date the harvest started every year.
In August, 1940, he scratched some additional words: “The war sure is going now. It will be Hitler’s downfall.” Two years later he enlisted in the army and by 1943 was in southern England, a Lance Bombardier with the 8th Light-Anti Aircraft Regiment. In the aftermath of the D-Day invasion, his unit served on the drive from northern France through Belgium, the Netherlands, and into northern Germany, where he found himself on VE-Day. Decommissioning took a number of months and it was not until January, 1946 that he arrived on the train in Winnipeg to be greeted by his relieved mother and other family members.
Reginald Campbell was unwell at the time and unable to manage the farm, so Frank set aside thoughts of higher education to take over its daily operations. With the assistance of the Veteran’s Land Assistance program, he was eventually able to purchase the farm and his parents later retired to town. Frank met and dated Ivy Douglas whose parents, Donald and Grace Douglas, farmed just south of nearby Crandall. They were married by Frank’s brother-in-law, Rev. Einar Egilsson, on July 19,1952 in the living room of the Douglas home.
Ivy had completed Normal School and was teaching at Oakner, but set that aside when they started a family. Money was scarce and Frank wanted Ivy to be free to remain at home with the children and so, in hopes of a better financial situation, they rented out the land to a neighbour in 1959 and moved to Roblin where he became a grain buyer for the National Grain Company. Unfortunately, that lasted only until 1961 when a severe drought meant that there was no grain to buy, and Frank, as the junior employee, had to be laid off. He then went to work for Beaver Lumber and, in the mid-1960’s, took a position with Keast Brothers Garage where he was to spend the remainder of his working life. During his time at Keasts’ he was known as an excellent mechanic and he became the specialist in the area for working on John Deere equipment. His wife Ivy went back to teaching full time at Goose Lake School in 1963.
Frank retained his interest in the farm and it was a point of pride when he and Ivy were able to sell it to his nephew, Ron Campbell, thus keeping the land and original homestead in the family.
Frank was a dedicated booster of the Town of Roblin and volunteered in many ways to help the community achieve its potential. He was a member of the Elks Lodge until it disbanded and later became a member of the Lion’s Club. He was an active member of the Roblin Volunteer Fire Department for twenty-five years, and was instrumental in the campaign to purchase the Jaws-of-Life for the department. He was a founding member of the Roblin Golf and Country Club and very active in its development in its early years. Sunday afternoons in the winter would find Frank and his boys cutting down and hauling out trees from bushes around the course that needed to be thinned out to become playable or cleared to lengthen holes. The wood didn’t get wasted, but kept the house warm in the coldest months.Frank was an avid curler and, keeping up his interest in hockey, he saw to it that his sons & daughter got into the sport and he spent a number of years coaching the Roblin Midget and Junior B hockey teams. Frank was a member of Knox United Church and spent some time as a member of the church board.
Holiday time was travel time in the Campbell household. Two adults and four children would squeeze into the 1966 Beaumont—not a large car—for trips as far as southern Ontario in the east and the coast in the west. In later years, Frank and Ivy developed a fondness for going north on fishing trips, on which their youngest son Langdon, accompanied them. They ate well on those ventures and always brought home an abundance of pickerel fillets for everybody to enjoy.
In retirement Frank and Ivy made many improvements to their home, both inside and out, enjoyed their patio and garden, and landscaped a beautiful yard. In recent years Frank’s world narrowed as medical issues increasingly confined him to home. He had a number of illnesses, but was a real fighter and always came back from them, remained alert, and managed to stay in his home until May of this year. Cable television was a blessing in later years as it allowed him to keep up with all his favourite sports.
Frank’s family is grateful to the folk of the Roblin and District Hospital and Crocus Court for the attentive and excellent care he received in his final months.
Frank is survived by his loving wife, Ivy, his children, Robert (Linda), Malcolm, Neil (Sandra), Donna, and Langdon (Jodi), his grandchildren, Logan (Jen), Andrew, Jennifer, James, and Lauren, his great-grandchild, Avery, his brother, Gordon (Viv); sisters-in-law, Val Campbell, Audrey Campbell, Darlene Campbell, and Jean (Jim Carnegie), and brother-in-law, Stuart Johnson, and a very large extended family. He was predeceased by his parents, his siblings and their spouses, Anne (Einar Egilsson), Mayme (Clifford Shurvell), Hazel (Kenneth Hanna, John Kelly), Vivian (Evan White), Crawford, Colin, and Rodney, his in-laws, Donna Johnson, and Doug and Vi McElroy, and his daughter-in-law, Suzanne Campbell.
A graveside service for Frank will be held in the spring at Arrow River Cemetery which is just a few miles from the family farm and where his parents and grandparents are buried. The family will make the date and time known should any friends from Roblin wish to attend. Those who so desire may make memorial donation in memory of Frank to, Roblin Fire and Rescue, box 150, Roblin, Manitoba, ROL 1PO. To leave a note of condolence, please visit Nairn-chyzfuneralhome.com
To Those I Loved and Those Who Loved Me
When I am gone, release me, let me go
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn't tie yourself to me with tears;
Be happy that we had so many years
I gave to you my love, you can only guess
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for all the love you each have shown,
But know it's time I travelled on alone.
So grieve for a while for me if grieve you must;
Then let your grief be comforted by trust,
It's only, for a while that we must part,
So bless the memories within your heart.
I won't be far away, for life goes on;
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can't see me or touch me, I'll be near
And if you listen with your heart, you'll hear
All of my love around you soft and clear.
And then when you must come this way alone,
I will greet you with a smile and say