VALE Jack Campbell - Rotary Club of Caulfield


Jack Campbell, Past President and long standing Secretary of the Rotary Cub of Caulfield died on September 24th. 

This tribute was presented at his funeral by colleague John Lord. 

Jack exemplified the humanitarian ideals of Rotary International in his private and public life, bringing care and compassion to everything, which he did. He was the yardstick by which others within our club measured their own contributions and social conscience. He was instrumental in connecting the Club with other community groups as his community networks were wide, varied and a source of constant surprise. 

The Club arranged for him to be recognized with the highest accolade in Rotary, being named by the Rotary Foundation, as a Paul Harris Fellow. 

The member of parliament for Caulfield, David Southwick ensured that Jack was recognized earlier this year for his outstanding voluntary work. 

Every project the Club undertook, Jack could be relied upon to be there quietly, handling so many aspects from making a large creative fruit platter at Caulfield Park Community School, to attending almost every fundraising BBQ held by the Club. He was invariably the first member to arrive in time to help set-up and one of the last to leave after cleaning up. 

Rotary has a keen desire to improve the life of 3rd world or developing countries 

Jack worked on various Rotary projects to help eradicate polio, and substantially reduce Malaria infection in Timor Leste and New Guinea, send doctors and nurses to the Pacific Area to repair broken and burnt bodies and many other international projects. 

For some 39 years the Club organized and sponsored a December Festive Season Lunch for those who found it difficult to leave their homes. On many occasions Jack organized the logistics of collecting the guests from their homes, ordering the food for up to 120 people and helping to set up the venue for the lunch, including decorating the tables and arranging enter-tainment. Felicite would collect the cooked food and organize a production line of volunteers to plate and serve the meal and clean up afterwards. On one occasion some years ago, due to a miscommunication, the food was not ready on the day, so Jack drove his iconic blue campervan around the neighbouring suburbs until he found a Red Rooster with the quantity of chickens required. 

The cost was substantially less so we switched to our new supplier for future years. No-one figured out this had all occurred accidently and Jack was complimented on his initiative and thrift for the club. 

Young people were very much at the forefront of Jack’s social concerns. In 1994 Jack and I established the Youth Photographic Exhibition, which has run for many years and which the Council took over as principal sponsor in 2000. He was instrumental in placing young people on the Alma Doepel Training Ship and to enrolling our youth in various Rotary Youth Leadership Training Programs. 

Jack used to man the entrance to our Murrumbeena Community Market. This reminds me of one Saturday just 3 years ago when he and I were welcoming visitors at the entrance and inviting them to donate a gold coin to our community fundraising projects. About 11.00am Jack said to me, “I will have to leave for about an hour.” I replied: “that’s fine, take your time”. The reply came back; “I’ve got some Meals on Wheels to deliver.” So at the sprightly age of 93 Jack was ensuring that house-bound senior citizens would receive their lunch. 

Jack and Felicite hosted many Club events at their home, providing gracious hospitality including holding the Glen Eira Artists Society after parties, following the Society’s various Exhibitions. 

Jack never stopped learning. He challenged himself constantly and he enjoyed attending the various Rotary Conferences and Forums. The most recent one was on Homelessness and this led to Jack agitating for the Club to become more involved in the actions being taken to alleviate this social ill.

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