Kay Gordon ‘Soup’ Campbell

Kay Gordon 'Soup' Campbell

July 24, 1934 – July 26, 2020
Soup was a beloved husband, father, stepfather, brother, uncle, friend and local character. He was born in Eugene, Oregon, to W. Gordon Campbell and J. Carolyn Campbell. During his early childhood, his family lived in several towns in Washington State, as his father managed different stores for J.C. Penney Company.
Around 1946, Soup’s father entered the logging business, and the family moved to Point No Point, BC. There, Gordon ran a logging operation owned by Carolyn’s uncle, Jim Waugh. Soup took the bus to school in Sooke, and later described the kids there as “pretty tough”. He enjoyed Point No Point, where he fished, caught crabs, and learned the logging business.
Soup and his family moved to Port Alberni around 1948, so his father could run Uncle Jim’s logging operations on the Alberni canal. Soup recalled that when he first visited Port Alberni, the drive from Sooke took most of the day, and 3rd Avenue was unpaved and “full of potholes”.
Soup quickly grew to love Port Alberni, mainly because of the many friends he made there and the outdoor adventures they had together. He spent many hours hiking up Mt. Arrowsmith, long before there was a road. There, he and his friends built log cabins, cut trees to make ski runs, and eventually built a ski tow out of salvaged car parts and scrap metal. Later, in the early 1970s, Soup was involved in planning and building the Mt. Arrowsmith Ski Area.
Soup briefly attended UBC in 1954-55, and then completed his carpentry and joinery training at the Vancouver Vocational Institute. He returned to Port Alberni, where he worked as a carpenter. In the early 1960s, he joined with Roy Newton and formed Newton and Campbell Construction. Soup and Roy built and renovated many homes and buildings in the Alberni Valley. During this time, Soup also worked on winter weekends as a ski instructor at Green Mountain, and later at Forbidden Plateau.
In 1964, Soup married Joyce Jenkins. His son Bill was born in 1966, and his daughter Kate in 1971. Around 1976, Soup bought his first crane, for industrial construction and demolition work. He formed K.G. Campbell Contracting in 1979, and operated it until his retirement in 2018. He bought the first hydraulic cranes in the Alberni Valley, which could be seen at construction sites and projects around town for 40 years.
In 1980, Soup got involved with restoring the 2-Spot Logging Locomotive. He was a founding member of the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society, and was a passionate advocate for the preservation of west coast logging and industrial history. Among his favourite activities were his “expeditions” afield to acquire logging and railroad “artifacts” and the restoration of industrial buildings and equipment.
In 2008, Soup married Susan Mann. Together, Soup and Susan enjoyed skiing, driving Soup’s restored Model A Fords, and cheering for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Soup is survived by Susan, Bill, Kate, Susan’s children Collin, Michaela and Neil (and their children), his brother Jim and sister-in-law Christine, and their children Michaela, Bobby, and Erich.
Soup was passionate about the things he enjoyed. His favourite things included family, skiing, telling stories, pickup trucks, Sproat Lake, local history, industrial equipment, and building things.
He was tremendously outgoing and loved people. Soup had a remarkable number of lifelong and devoted friends he could count on until the end.
He was an interesting, colourful, and loveable person. He will be deeply missed.

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