Craig and I were married 28 years. The last 10 were affected by the disease PPA. We had some hard times but we also had many great and enriched times. Craig was a unique and funny man with a positive outlook so surprisingly life with a brain disease held many rich encounters and humouros situations. Our two daughters, Tessa and Chantal grew up with the diversity that comes with living with dementia. They grew to be incredible kind, helpful and caring young women with a great sense of humour. When my daughters decided to go ahead with the ride to raise awareness and money for the UBC Djavid Mowafaghian centre for Brain Health, where Craig had been involved with studies and research since he was diagnosed, I was impressed and excited to come along as the "roadie". Originally this Ride was to include Craig but that window had passed a few years ago. Here are some pictures of the ride and yes I'm and incredibly proud momma!
Celebrating CRAIG CAMPBELL – by Ramesh Rajaratnam I first got to know Craig sometime in late 1994, when I, a young accountant from Asia, first arrived in North America as a rookie. My first impression of Craig was – fun guy. Although I didn’t mention it to Craig during our long friendship and his failing health, I knew that I needed to deliver an eulogy for him. And so here it is, from the bottom of my heart. Back then, Craig was a senior manager, with a clear path towards the Partnership in a Big 8. This was a big deal in those days – nobody makes partner in Price Waterhouse without (un)due consideration. It’s a brutal climb alright. He was my immediate boss but he never once threw his weight around. He was always willing to listen and adapt. A gentleman indeed. Let me start professionally. I recall sometime in October 1994 when he assigned me to audit a company in Vancouver that had supply links with Malaysia, where I came from. I discovered an erroneous accounting treatment that was unnoticed for many years by my predecessors. Craig, instead of covering up for the past years’ oversight, that he himself had audited, encouraged me to write my dissenting opinion. I did my best as a new accountant in a new land, expecting to be shot down by the “Anglo-Saxon establishment”. But no, Craig not only praised my view, took this to the client unabashedly. I knew, the client could have turned onto him and questioned why wasn’t this matter highlighted before. I knew the partner (Craig’s boss) would have asked the same. He risked some professional bruising. But with much admiration, I must say, Craig stood his grounds and said, let’s rectify the mistake and move on. And much to my surprise, he never claimed any credit for this “discovery” as most bosses would have then. He just said, this young fellow, picked it up. I knew therefrom, this was a man of honour. Deservedly, Craig went on to make Partner in Price Waterhouse soon after that. He was transferred from Audit to the Consulting division of the firm. I was delighted that my immediate boss, was now himself a big boss. Upon his special request, I then worked for Craig on many assignments outside of Audit. His bringing me into the Consulting division, changed my life too - I too switched from Audit to Consulting upon my return to Malaysia. Our professional relationship and transparent camaraderie, was very well known in the Firm. I was referred to as “Craig’s man” by many. In 1996, he penned a sterling recommendation for my elevation likewise. Rest assured, Craig did not use our friendship as a base. He was extremely principled and many-a-times, we had differences but we settled them professionally. Due to the contractual arrangement I had in Malaysia, that I was honour-bound to fulfill, I left Vancouver painfully in late 1996. When I retired from the Malaysian firm in late 2006, Craig arranged for me to resume my career in the Vancouver office. Indeed, it was a very difficult decision for me to say “no” to the potential offer the Vancouver office proposed. But, due to personal reasons, I chose to remain in Malaysia. This is not important - the fact remains, Craig and I remained very good friends throughout, even if some 13,000 kms separated us. You could say, there was always the connection of kindred souls. Now, the personal side of Craig. You see, because we enjoyed a good relationship in office, Craig often invited me to his parties, and many times, to personal dinners. I got to know his wonderful wife Trina, and his daughters (Chantal and Tessa) when they were little babies. Likewise, he also came to my functions in downtown Vancouver. I recall many Firm outings in Whistler with Craig. Whenever, there was a Firm function there, you can bet Craig and I, were the last to leave the bar. In all my interactions with Craig, he always exhibited the virtues of a true gentleman, sober or drunk. I always felt comfortable being with Craig. He made you feel at home. Years later, when we were both retired, we met many times in Palm Springs and in Vancouver. I recall Craig loved Palm Springs and he spent many holidays there. I joined him many times and we reminisced. Best of all, we both loved the Olympics so we went to many events in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancover, and in the 2012 summer Olympics in London. The 2012 London Olympics requires a special mention. We both took time off from our not too busy schedules, to enjoy the sporting camaraderie in London. And after each event in the Games ended, there’s nothing like a London pub crawl. Craig, with his “mate in crime”, did indeed trawl the streets of London to imbibe in a shot or two, or three, or more. You can say, it was almost like 2 old buddies being in London in the 1890’s. It was indeed a bloody blast. This holiday, would certainly earn a peg in my bucket list. It was just wonderful, something that I cannot explain fully if you were not with us. For me, I will always remember the bubbly Craig as he was in London then. He simply celebrated life. Of course, I have known for a long while, that Craig was not well. But I knew Craig enjoyed life too much to give up easily. He had Trina beside him who supported him fully. Craig was simply too much of a human, to have life yanked away too soon. He loved life….whenever we met, we spent many beers and whiskies talking about life, as if we were sages. Maybe we weren’t but the alcohol certainly made us feel like a spiritual one. In fact, Craig and Trina were the first of our friends who knew that I had become a father again after some 11 years. Again, I simply enjoyed Craig’s views on life….as crazy as they were, it was always fun debating with him. He was a good man overall. They don’t make many like this anymore. Recently, Trina informed me that Craig had passed on. I must say, it was a very sad day for me when I heard the news. I didn’t want this to happen this soon. I didn’t want company in cherishing his memory. I sat in a bar in Malaysia, alone, for a few hours, remembering the good times that Craig and I shared. I had hoped that we could have had the same adventures, for many more years. I recall a movie where Nicholson and Freeman, counted their bucket list…that was exactly us. But, I guess, the Big Man (or Alien) up there, decided to call in Craig’s cards earlier than I expected. I can only imagine the sadness that Trina, Chantal and Tessa felt when Craig was no more. Indeed, he was a good husband and father, a great friend and most of all, a wonderful human. He embodied the celebration of Life. As I write this, my tears well up because, I can no longer have the banter with my buddy Craig, something we enjoyed for almost 26 years. I loved this guy. He was somehow different from the others. He may not have endeared himself to all because he was unconventional, but he was my very dear friend. He was my mate and I will never forget Craig as long as I live. Buddy, if you are listening, I hope the room upstairs is all that you imagined it to be…..don’t call me to join you too soon. But when I come, we will continue from where we left off here. Rest in Peace my dear friend, Craig Campbell. Amen. Ohm Shanti.
Jaxson used to send us xmas cards either on old photos or old xmas cards which made us laugh. i knew the finances were tight for PWc partners! one of my fondest memories post his aussie jaunt was visiting Jaxson and family in Dec 2007 just before xmas and meeting the wider jaxson family and having a pre xmas dinner with everyone. I distinctly remember the cold and wet Vancouver weather - it reminded me of Melbourne. We had already met Dave and Joan when they visited Jaxson in Oz 20+ years before. Dave called me 'buncle' which amused me because of his canadian accent. jaxson would swear like a trooper in front of Joan who didn't seem to hear it while the rest of us squirmed. we bought all this new snow gear only to lose it on the Qantas flight home, somewhere in Fiji. skiing is very popular there! or maybe jaxson scammed us. we will never know. i will miss him.
I shared many good times with Craig during his Australia Gap Adventure in Melbourne. We have kept in touch over the years with each Christmas my eagerly waiting at the post box to receive my annual Christmas card of a funny photo of his time in Australia with a brief note scrawled on the rear. My wife Jan and I have also had the joy of spending time with Tess, Craig and Trina here in Australia, His generous and fun spirit will be sadly missed. He would be incredibly proud of the endeavor of Tess and Chantal in honour of his memory.
It is odd for me to write something here. I retired from PWC without knowing Craig. Reading about Craig's life, I'm impressed by his many endeavours and success. We share similar background in terms of going to UBC and joining PWC's predecessors firms, although my life is less colourful and much more mundane. (Unlike Craig, I favour the Beatles more than the Rolling Stones, although "I can't get no Satisfaction" was stuck in my head for much of the 60's.) I wish Tessa and Chantal all the best with their bike trip in December. You are remarkable women on your own, and I'm sure all those who knew Craig are touched by your love for your father and what you are doing in honour of him. I have also lost a mentor/colleague in the accounting profession to a degenerative disease, so my small donation is made in honour of Craig and to him.
Craig was a model son in law. Good to our whole family and always fun to be with. He loved to put on a pair of Tom's greasy coveralls and get under the hood. He liked to play with the "Tommy tools". One of the last visits to our new home he got up on the scaffold in the garage and helped install insolation on a very hot day. Always happy, entertaining and fun even when he became very challenged. It was a pleasure to know him. May he entertain everyone in the next life too.
Craig Campbell was an important figure in my life and the gentleman who gifted me the rainbow hat he wore while travelling across Asia. He and his family of Trina, Tessa and Chantal have been friends of my family since 2001 and I could go on forever about the good times our families have shared. Craig brought people together in many ways, not the least of which was their awesome BBQ bashes that I had the honour of playing at with my old band. Craig and the Campbells also gave me the ultimate gift of hosting my mom, Connie Sturgess, celebration of life (literally, celebration!) at their house after her funeral in July 2019.