Ask Cindy Huggins what she remembers about her mother, and the answer comes quickly: she was always happy. Notably, she was also always busy.
“She like to always be busy,” Huggins said about her mother, Myrna Campbell. “She always thought about everybody but herself.”
Since Campbell had been a young girl, growing up on a chicken farm in Maple Ridge, work had framed her life.
Campbell’s family moved to B.C. from a small town on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border in 1942. There, at three years of age, Campbell took to the farm chores of gathering and cleaning eggs. When the family moved to Harrison Hot Springs 10 years later, the work changed.
Her parents opened a cafe in the village, and soon Campbell’s chores turned from chasing chickens to waiting tables. Then teen at the Agassiz high school, she fit in basketball and babysitting between her school and work hours.
|Myrna Campbell (front row, second from left) with the rest of the Agassiz High School basketball team. (Contributed)|
Working with people was a natural fit for Campbell, who after graduating in 1957 would go on to become front desk manager at the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel and condo manager for the Hemlock Valley Resort.
“She was the type of person who always wanted people around her,” Huggins said. “She was always entertaining, always cooking and baking and having people over for dinner.”
Life wasn’t always easy for the Harrison resident, working as a single mom for several years after her divorce from her first husband. But that never altered her sunny disposition.
“She was working all the time, being a single mum,” Huggins remembered. “She was lots of fun though. Very outgoing.”
|Myrna Campbell (centre) being named employee of the year for Harrison Hot Springs Hotel. (Contributed)|
Later, Campbell also turned her busy schedule to driving, becoming a local paramedic and ambulance driver. As a senior, she was a bus driver for both Seabird Island and the local school district. She only fully retired from bus driving at the age of 75, and even then wanted to keep going.
“She just loved the kids,” Huggins said. “One of the little boys on the school bus, he called her Dolly Parton. She always thought that was really funny.
“Then she would tell him to get back in his seat, behave himself, or something like that.”
When she got older, Campbell took some time away from work to travel with her daughters and extended family, going to Norway to visit an old friend, cruising through the Mayan Riviera and travelling down to the South Pacific.
In both work and play, Campbell’s concern and care for others was a common sight.
“She always found the best in people,” she said.
“She always helped the kids on her bus,” she added. “If she saw someone with no coat, she would always be the person to go out and get a coat for that certain person. That was her.”
In November 2018, Campbell passed away, leaving behind a legacy of hard work and happy dispositions.
On May 18, the day before what would have been Campbell’s 80th birthday, a celebration of life is planned for 2 p.m. at the Harrison Lake Hotel to share memories of the Harrison woman.
The next day, on Campbell’s birthday, her extended family will be taking a boat ride up the lake to honour her.
“I just feel she should have been still with us because she really wanted to live,” Huggins said. “That’s the type of person she was. She just loved life. She wasn’t ready. But her body was, I guess.”