IVY ISOBEL CAMPBELL
March 23, 1930 - December 30, 2019
We announce the peaceful passing of Ivy Isobel Campbell on December 30 at the age of 89 at the Crocus Court Personal Care Home in Roblin. She is survived by her children and their spouses, Robert (Linda), Malcolm, Neil (Sandra), Donna, and Langdon (Jodi); by her grandchildren, Logan (Jen), Andrew, Jennifer, James, and Lauren; by her great-granddaughter, Avery; by her sister, Jean (Jim Carnegie); her brother-in-law Gordon (Viv); sisters-in-law, Val Campbell, Audrey Campbell, and Darlene Campbell, and a large extended family. She was predeceased by her husband of 65 years, William Francis (Frank), on November 30, 2017; also by her parents, her sisters and their spouses, Donna (Stuart Johnson) and Vi (Doug McElroy), and her daughter-in-law, Susanne.
Ivy was born on March 23, 1930, the third daughter of Donald and Grace Douglas. She grew up on their farm south of Crandall, Manitoba and attended Palmerston and Crandall Schools. After graduating from high school she spent a brief period at Grace hospital in Winnipeg exploring the possibility of becoming a nurse. She soon decided that was not for her. She then tried teaching on a teacher’s permit at Montefoire School, Grades 1 through 8, near Goodlands. That was more congenial and she attended Normal School in Winnipeg, graduating in 1951. She then taught for one year at Oakner School, Grades 5 through 8. She met and dated Frank who was managing the Campbell family farm located between Isabella and Crandall. They were married on July 19, 1952 and settled in the farm house while Frank’s parents moved to the United Church manse in Isabella. The first three of their children were born while they lived there.
In 1959 the family made a move to Roblin where Frank became a grain buyer for National Grain. After a few years as a homemaker, attending to her growing family, Ivy returned to teaching. She taught Grade 3 for most of her career, though she had short stints in other grades and as the music specialist. In mid-career she upgraded her qualifications, obtaining a Bachelor of Teaching degree from Brandon University in 1976. She was a go-to person for music in her schools, often preparing choirs for festivals. As a teacher, Ivy’s first concern was for her students and their growth. That this was noticed is evidenced by the scores of cards of appreciation she received from those in her charge and under her care. Her family was particularly moved by this tribute which appeared online following the announcement of her passing: “I was a painfully shy third grader who literally froze at the prospect of being up in front of people in our class play. Your Mom rescued me and made me her “assistant director,” a job that required nothing of me but following her around and feeling kind of special. I always cherished that kind gesture. She was one of the great mothers of our neighbourhood when we were growing up.” Ivy retired at 60 in 1990. At that year’s retirement banquet, when it was her turn to speak, fittingly she focused not on her career but on her students.
Singing was a hallmark of Ivy’s life. As a teen-ager, she would take her turn on the tractor for the combining or summer fallowing. A neighbour remarked that he always knew when it was Ivy on the tractor as he could hear her singing above the sound of the motor. In the Douglas Family book she wrote of what music meant to her: “Music, especially hymns and other sacred songs have always played an important part in my spiritual life. Jesus Loves Me was the beginning and I’ve been learning hymns ever since. St. Augustine said that he who sings prays twice—once with the words and once with the music. Song is the expression of the heart. And I think when we sing together in worship it is a time when we are close to God and most one with one another.” Given these values, it is only natural that, in the early 1960’s, Ivy should become the choir director of Knox United Church, a position she held for over fifty years. She was honoured by the congregation and named Choir Director Emeritus at a ceremony in 2016.
Her commitment to the church was exercised in many other ways as well. In retirement she had the time to serve on the Ministry and Personnel Committee, to help organize of the prayer shawl ministry, and to assist the ministers in bringing communion to the residents of Maple Manor and the Roblin Residence. For many years she was a delegate to Presbytery and Conference. The extended Northland Presbytery meetings, with their great sense of community, were a real highlight for her. Following the sessions, Presbytery members were always sure to gather to her room for the daily debriefings.
Ivy’s contribution to the life of the community was ongoing and varied. For a number of years she was the director of the Roblin Community Choir. Later, in retirement, she worked at the food bank and delivered Meals on Wheels. She volunteered at Crocus Court, assisting with their teas and social events and helping residents with their correspondence and Christmas cards. Amongst her papers, her family found a certificate from Crocus Court acknowledging fifty hours of service in that particular month. She was always on the go and very generous with her time.
Family was very important to Ivy. Hence, she actually enjoyed the summer travels when she and Frank would pack their children into the Beaumont, not exactly a family-sized car, to explore places as far flung as southern Ontario and the Pacific coast. In later years, vacations in the north to catch pickerel must have seemed easy by comparison. Ivy loved it when her children and their families would all gather together in Roblin for long weekends and at Christmas time. Such occasions were never without games and a great deal of hilarity enjoyed by all. We remember her as a devoted mother and grand-mother who unfailingly supported her children and grand-children in whatever endeavours they chose in life.
We remember mom as a woman who was always beautifully turned out. Presentation was important to her. We also remember her as a person who had a need to be involved and a determination not to miss out on anything. As a consequence, it was difficult for her loved ones to watch as dementia and Alzheimer’s gradually took her out of circulation in recent years.
Still, we take hope and echo the words of the 18th century hymn writer, Isaac Watts:
I’ll praise my maker while I’ve breath,
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers.
As a singer, Ivy’s life was full of praise. We are sorrowful that her voice was lost well before her death, but are thankful that, in heaven, praise now employs her nobler powers. And so we assert:
My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
while life and thought and being last,
or immortality endures.
As her children we are grateful for the loving care that the staff of Crocus Court provided Ivy in these last two and a half years. Her funeral service will be held at the United Church on the morning of August 1, 2020 and her internment service will be held at the Arrow River Cemetery that afternoon. Folks desiring to make a contribution in her memory may wish to consider Roblin Knox United Church or Crocus Court Personal Care Home.