It with heavy hearts we announce the passing of Maureen Campbell, resident of Dawson Creek, British Columbia on Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 87 years of age. A service will be held privately, due to COVID restrictions, and interment at the Dawson Creek City Cemetery. For friends so wishing, donations in Maureen’s memory may be made to Diabetes Canada, 360-1385 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6H 3V9.
Maureen Alanna Campbell was born in Agassiz B.C. on July 23 1933 to Robert and Kathlyn Magill. She was raised in that area, and then married Gus Keilbart on October 27th, 1951. Together, they had 5 girls and spent the first several years of their marriage on the lower mainland where Maureen loved to work in her garden. Her love of flowers was displayed in the profusion of her flower beds, among which were roses, irises, carnations and bleeding hearts. In 1966 Gus's job took them up to Dawson Creek where Maureen once again attempted to grow her flowers. In frustration she finally stuck some plastic flowers in her front flower bed and gave up. Maureen joined the Hospital Women's Auxiliary and spent every Wednesday delivering reading material to patients, assisting with washing the hair of bedridden patients, and taking her turn in the Hospital gift shop. For many, many years Maureen made flower arrangements that were sold in the gift shop.
Maureen had an artistic nature. She loved to decorate cakes and made wedding cakes for several weddings, including those of her own daughters and some of her grandchildren. Maureen would let each bride go through her many cake decorating books to find the design of her choice and then, regardless of how elaborate it was, she would be determined to recreate it. Just recently Maureen recounted how she got such a thrill in getting lacy strands of icing to hang perfectly without breaking. She was self-taught, and perfected her art while they still lived in Surrey. Their budget was tight and Maureen could not afford a proper mixer, so Gus made one for Maureen out of an old car starter. It worked well and got the job done until they could later afford Maureen's precious Mix Master.
Maureen also loved to sew. Her daughters have many memories of being dressed in identically matching outfits as they set off to church on Sunday mornings, or of special dresses being sewn for birthday presents, of pedal pushers and pop tops being quickly put together for a school field trip.
Maureen was feisty, even when she didn't feel like it. When Gus attended summer school Maureen waited behind in Dawson Creek until the girls completed their school year, and then she would hook up the holiday trailer and drive down to Vancouver to meet him.
In 1980 Gus had the opportunity to work for a year in Indonesia, so he and Maureen embarked on an adventure of a life time. Although she spoke fondly of it, her experience in Borneo was different from Gus's. While he embraced every aspect of the trip, Maureen struggled with the huge spider she found on her pillow when she woke up from a nap, and the one she discovered in the shower one morning, clinging to the wall with a huge eggs sack on its back. Maureen was determined to be strong, and to deal with the insect on her own. She turned on the shower, hoping to wash it down the drain, but instead broke the egg sack to send hundreds of baby spiders scurrying everywhere. Maureen gritted her teeth at the growling house flies that were as big as a Bic pen, but she was pushed to her limit by the snakes that easily crawled under the door to spend time inside.
When Maureen and Gus returned to Canada in 1981 they found out that his job had been relocated to Fort St. John. They rented out the house in Dawson Creek and moved up there where they lived until Gus passed away in 1984. A year later, Maureen sold the house in Ft. St. John and moved back to Dawson Creek and built a house up on 93rd avenue where she lived the remainder of her life.
Pushing forward in life, Maureen joined the Red Hat Society, a group of women who met once a month for lunch, friendship and support. She was a member for several years and cherished the relationships she made with these women.
In the mid-1990s Maureen became reacquainted with an old family friend. Chuck Campbell had been her older brother's best friend, and now resided just outside of Dawson Creek. The two became fast friends and loved to spend their time garage saleing, looking for treasures. Maureen insisted that she wasn't going to marry him, and that they were just good friends. They were married on October 11th, 1997. Chuck treated Maureen like a princess, and the two continued going to garage sales together, and travelling with Chuck's truck and fifth wheel. Chuck was a mason and a chaplain with the Shriners, so Maureen became a Daughter of the Nile. Chuck and Maureen shared many vacations with other Shriners and Mom greatly appreciated their friendship and ongoing support. Maureen grieved the loss of her best friend when Chuck developed Alzheimer’s and was moved into Rotary Manor. She continued to love him, visit him and look after him until he passed away on February 13 2017.
Maureen was proud of her daughters and their families. When you walked into her kitchen you were greeted with a fridge covered in newspaper clippings, crafts from Grandchildren and notes. If you made the paper, the article was put on the fridge and stayed there for eternity. Brianna said you could look at the fridge and learn things about yourself that you had forgotten.
Maureen was my mother in law. I couldn’t tell you if she was a good one or a bad one as she was the only one I ever had or wanted. Maureen’s father was Irish and she inherited that Irish blood. You would see that Irish blood fire once in awhile but more often you would see and hear her Irish wit and humour. She could throw out one liners that left you wondering...Did she really say that?! Then you would see the twinkle in her eye and a small smirk emerge and you would know that yes indeed she did say that.
Maureen's dry wit came out in other ways as well, such as the time she was upset with the city for not plowing some of the roads well enough. She wanted to write to the editor of the newspaper to complain but wished to remain anonymous. The paper would only receive letters to the editor if the author included his or her name. Maureen agreed that this was fair and proudly signed her letter Ima Fuddmucker. The streets were plowed much better after her letter was published.
Maureen also shared her humor with telemarketers. A fine gentleman phoned Maureen to tell her there were problems with her windows. Maureen put on her best little-old-lady accent and asked the gentleman which window that would be, because she had twenty-seven of them. As the gentleman tried to explain that it was on her computer Mom continued to babble, "Oh, it's probably the bathroom window. It's been sticking lately, but I think it's okay now. Let me go check." She then laid down the phone, curled back up on the couch and returned to reading her book.
When Maureen fell and broke her hip the EMT team was able to get her up and onto a chair in the kitchen but realized that they would need help to get her down the stairs and out to the ambulance. They called the fire department for assistance and soon 3 good looking husky firemen pulled up. (remember this is a lady near her 70’s telling the story so the fireman description could be subjective). After they got Maureen transferred to a lift assist chair and were strapping her in she kept leaning toward the fridge door after a time she finally managed to reach the door. Remember me saying that her fridge was an archive of years? Well she found the piece of paper she was reaching for that Charlie had given her. She took it down and handed it to the fireman. It was a picture of two old ladies leaning into each other and the caption read “When we get old we are not going to sit around doing crossword puzzles. We are going to click our life alert buttons to see how many hot firefighters show up!” They were all still laughing about it as they carried her down the stairs.
Maureen was our queen and she ruled with an iron fist in a velvet glove. She demanded respect and handed out love. My wife and I had the pleasure of taking Maureen and Chuck to Scotland and Ireland. Scotland being Chuck’s heritage and Ireland being Maureen’s. We were able to visit Chuck’s family home town in Scotland and then went to Ireland and visited Maureen’s family plot and family farm where her father was raised. She had such a great time that she decided all her girls should take that trip so she paid for all 4 girls and their husbands to do the trip. All she wanted in return was a picture of her girls in Ireland.
Maureen cherished her family and friends. She saved every Christmas card or birthday card she received, every little note or picture that was made for her, every school photo and report card.
Maureen loved to follow the antics of the royal family. She was not related to royalty, but her conversations would have you believing otherwise. Jake (Janice) recalled a phone call where she asked Maureen what she was up to. Her reply was “Oh, nothing much. I haven't heard from Harry and Meghan lately to tell me what they are up to. But I had the driveway plowed just in case they drop in for tea.” All with tongue in cheek and I am sure that ever present twinkle in her eye. She would often start a conversation with “Do you know what the B%&^#$ Camilla is up to now” and she lamented that Beatrice's wedding photos were marred by her horrible smile. She was just all teeth, the poor girl! She talked like they lived next door and she had the inside scoop on their goings on. She got most of her information from her precious magazines, and while she insisted that she didn't believe a word they said she agonized and lamented every article she read.
Maureen worked hard at being a good mother. Every morning she got up first and made the family hot cereal and toast. The table was set for all seven family members who were encouraged to eat a good breakfast. As we were growing up you could always count on a good bowl of homemade soup out of her kitchen. Maureen was famous for her soup among us young teenage boys looking to fill our hollow legs. Every evening meal had a salad. Maureen was determined to provide her family with a well balanced diet, which most of us took for granted until we were out on our own. When we asked Maureen what made her soup so good she said you have to start with a good base. This is what she strived for, to give her girls a good base to start.
Maureen was predeceased by her first husband Gustave Keilbart, her second husband Charles Campbell, daughter Darlene Keilbart, granddaughter Alanna Scott, grandson Douglas Kuenzl.
She is survived by four daughters, Karen Kuenzl, Cheryl Hartnell (Tim), Janice Scott (Bob), Leanna Scott (Ken) as well as grandchildren Ken Kuenzl, Steve Hartnell, Lisa Meeres, Heather Tillapaugh, Brianna Scott-Kosowsky, Rebecca Yurkoski, Owen Scott, Kasandra Normandeau, Alexander Scott. She also leaves 12 great-grandchildren and two siblings, sister Margaret Warbrick and brother William Magill.
Very Respectfully Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium