Jean Lorraine Campbell
Sept. 14, 1921 – Feb 16, 2016
Jean Lorraine Campbell lived an exemplary life. She was a wise mother, grandmother, and aunt — and a lovely, patient shepherd to a vast array of adopted family members, unexpected strangers, and sometimes actual sheep. She died peacefully in her sleep early in the morning of February 16, at Lady Minto Gulf Islands Hospital on Salt Spring Island. A virus and a stroke tipped her into the next world. Lorraine was 94. Lorraine’s enviable life was filled with hard work and simple pleasures, and she will be well remembered for all that she did, for her family and her community.
Lorraine was born in the municipality of Point Grey on September 14, 1921, and grew up in the Dunbar neighbourhood. She earned a master’s degree in science at UBC, studying agriculture, where she met James McGeer Campbell. They were married on December 29, 1944, while Jim was on furlough from the navy.
Lorraine’s father, Dr. A. R. Thomson, travelled widely in B.C., bought property on Saturna before it was fashionable, and built some modest guest cottages at Saturna Beach in the early 1930s. In 1945, Jim and Lorraine moved to Saturna to farm. They lived a life of glorious subsistence, and had four children — Jim Jr., Nan, Tom and Jacques. They also shaped both their own island community and others in B.C. with principled commitment as strong as the open-heartedness they showed to their steady stream of visitors.
Jim and Lorraine were both politically active. Lorraine served 13 years as a school trustee and 19 years on the board of the Lady Minto Hospital, where she spent the last two years of her life. Lorraine was instrumental in creating the Greenwoods Eldercare facility next to the hospital. In 1993, she received Canada’s 125th Anniversary Medal for community service, and in 2012 the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Yet much of what she did came without a title or a label. She was a pillar of the vital Saturna Women’s Club. She was central in organizing the Dominion Day Lamb Barbeque, a community fundraiser held for nearly 40 years at Saturna Beach, which often quintupled the Saturna population for a day.
Her folk-art birthday cakes at summer beach parties were legendary. The Christmas socks she fashioned from homespun wool were coveted. She wanted for nothing. A family story has it that UBC Dean of Agriculture Blyth Eagles once said he had two good students who graduated from his program. “They’re living below the poverty line on Saturna Island, and doing well.” Yet Lorraine’s wealth was considerable: from her love of place, family and friends, and her ability to share everything she had, including land sold and donated to help establish the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
Lorraine was predeceased by her husband (on November 29, 2015, at 97), her son Jim, and siblings Bob and Nan. She is survived by three children, five grandchildren (Faedra, Ian, Andrew, James and Mary Grace) three great grandchildren, and her sister Dougal. Her friends, living and dead, are legion.
In Lorraine’s memory, contributions for community development on Saturna can be made online or by mail to the Saturnina Foundation. Her life will be celebrated on March 12 from noon to 4 at the Saturna Island Recreation Centre. For more on the event or to share stories and photos of Lorraine, visit Campbell Farm, Saturna Island on Facebook.