South Mountain Friends Meeting
Gilbert ("Gil") Campos, 68, left us too soon in November 2011 in Ashland, Oregon, from acute myeloid leukemia. Family and friends at South Mountain Meeting and worldwide mourn his passing.
Gil was born in Baytown, Texas in June 1943, into a family that "followed the crops" up and down the High Plains of North America. Among his favorite childhood memories were those from picking cherries with his parents and siblings on Wisconsin's Door Peninsula. He moved with his family to Houston, Texas in the early 1950s, and was raised with six sisters and a brother in the Denver Harbor neighborhood. He attended the First Baptist Church on Port Street. It seemed to his family that he spent more time there than anywhere else besides school, attending Sunday School, Training Union on Sunday nights, and on Wednesday nights RAs (Royal Ambassadors), a Baptist club for boys grades 1-6 committed to living out the RA pledge, "Ambassadors for Christ." A few days before he died he sang the RA song, to the surprise of his sisters. Every summer he would attend Vacation Bible School, with everyone marching into the church singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" to the beating of a drum.
Gil graduated from Milby High School in Houston and attended Lee College in Baytown, Texas. Following college he traveled around the country, working mostly as a carpenter and day-laborer. He and his wife Isabel arrived in Ashland, Oregon around 1980 from Sandpoint, Idaho, where they had met and married. In the Ashland area he worked first as a carpenter and soon after as a real estate agent and broker. He was known in the Rogue Valley as "El Señor de las Casas," helping many Hispanics become established property owners, and was at one time the president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
An avid follower of Gandhi and a true peaceful man, Gil had found Quakerism in Sandpoint, and began attending South Mountain Meeting (then called Rogue Valley Preparative Meeting) soon after he arrived in Ashland, becoming a member around 1990. He served on the meeting's peace and social concerns committee, on the hospitality committee, and for many years on the building and grounds committee, to which he had just been renamed at the time of his death.
He loved adventure, beginning early as a young boy - he would jump on his bike and be gone all day. He never met a stranger. His travels led him to Alaska, the Yukon, Canada, Mexico, Honduras, Cambodia, Europe and South America. He enjoyed telling stories of traveling down the Amazon River by boat. He traveled for pleasure but also in cases of emergencies when he would go to other countries to help poor villagers rebuild. On one of his trips to Peru after his marriage to Isabel had ended, around 2000, he met a young woman, Euniza, who returned with him to Oregon. He and Euniza were married in the summer of 2002 and in 2006 became the parents of a daughter, Anny, who joined his son Tim and daughter Bonnie from his marriage to Isabel, and his son Marc from a previous relationship. To Friends at that time he spoke of wanting to live out his life on property he owned in the Cascade Mountains, tending the land and enjoying the company of his wife and daughter. It was not to be. He was diagnosed with leukemia in late September of 2011. He was able to attend a family reunion in October, but weakened rapidly after that. His last visit to South Mountain Friends Meeting, on October 30, 2011, was met with many tears; he died five days later, surrounded by family and loved ones who had rarely left his side during his final days. The family spent the last couple of hours of his life telling stories of his many experiences and travels. Gil, his brother Rudy and sister Ricky were together on many of those trips. Ricky remembers:
"He was always the pacifist with a big heart and was always there in a family emergency. When one of his young nieces had major surgery he drove up to Seattle - he helped keep her three children busy putting together a place where they could play basketball. Another niece remembers he was always the uncle that 'threw them up in the air.' Being a private person, not many knew the extent of his kindness, his love of beauty and the simple life.
"One of the family's best memories of Gil was how he loved his parents; his regard for them was always respectful and he was so proud of them, so much so that he was always recording them. His family remembers him laughing with them and him loving their company. He loved his Dad's jokes and his Mom's stories. He had such a big place in his heart for all his family and he never said anything negative about any of them. He would give the last dollar in his pocket if someone needed it. He was never going to be a rich man because he could never see someone in his family hurting and not help out, if he was in a position to. Most of the time he wasn't in a position to, because he never was a good manager, but that wasn't a priority in his life. He loved people and he loved life - that was his priority. He wouldn't even give in to the pain in those last days because he didn't want to miss out on basking in the beauty of nature, even if it was just outside his door, or enjoying the time he had left with his family."
He is survived by his sisters Ricky, Tinal, Lita, Eva, Yolanda, and Vera; his brother Rudy; his children, Bonnie, Tim, Marc, and Anny; and his wife Euniza.