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Thread: Sad Day in Boating history...

  1. #1
    As a long time Campbell Boat owner, (I've had 4) and affacionado of the "classic" day cruiser look, Campbell Boat founder Bob Campbell passed away a couple of days ago. Bob was a great guy and full of life - I remember as a kid going to the factory with my dad on Victory Blvd in Glendale and watching them build boats and hoping I could have one some day. Anyway, to one of the early pioneers of the hot boat scene, "Bob, you done good! May you rest in paece and may all the lakes in heaven always be glass and the beer always cold!"
    Here's the story...
    City pioneer Bob Campbell dies
    By Gary Weiand
    A pioneering businessman from the early days of Lake Havasu City died Wednesday in Tucson following a lengthy illness. Survivors and friends recalled him as a creative, versatile and life-affirming person whose personality and professional contributions would be long remembered.
    Bob Campbell, 81, was co-founder of Campbell Boat Company, a boat designer that became the second manufacturing facility to locate in Lake Havasu City after Robert P. McCulloch brought his chainsaw company here.
    Campbell’s widow, Stormi, said that the once-athletic Campbell was transferred to a hospice transition unit on Sunday and died Wednesday. He had suffered from cerebral vascular disease since they moved to Tucson in October 2001, and went steadily down hill, she said.
    Campbell and his brother Billy founded Campbell Boat in 1950 and brought it here from California in 1971, according to Campbell’s niece, Randee Campbell Huston.
    “We moved the whole family — plus all the employees and their families — to Lake Havasu City in May 1971. He arrived here in a Cadillac that he had converted into a pick-up truck — it looked like it was just off the shop room floor. He did that kind of stuff quite a lot,” she said.
    “Robert McCulloch flew them here because he wanted to make this the boat-building capitol of the world. We were the first boat company here - 20-, 24- and 32-foot daycruisers.”
    Stormi Campbell said that “his claim to fame was his boat’s ability to get out of the hole — it means the boat planes quickly. The hull design is still copied today — he’s been very important in the boat design industry for 50 years.”
    Jim Sterling, who remembered doing electrical contracting work for Campbell, said that people from all over the country wanted to buy his boats.
    “He was a fun man — just like all of us old timers used to be,” he said. “We were just damn good friends.”
    Dr. Donald Nelson said that he knew Campbell almost from the beginning, because they both came here in 1971. Campbell once sold a boat to Dan Blocker, who played “Hoss” on the old Bonanza television show, he said.
    “Bob was always very positive, and a good friend, just a very friendly good man.”
    “You could be anybody and you could get along with Bob Campbell. He had a colorful personality. He dressed in fashion and beyond fashion. He played golf and tennis; gold was his game, tennis was his sport,” Evie Eistard said.
    Many of Campbell’s friends recalled his marriage to Stormi, the night before his 70th birthday in 1992, as one of the most effective surprises they have ever seen. The wedding began suddenly after the party had gone on for some time.
    “We all thought it was his birthday party. Our mouths were open — Stormi’s children didn’t even know,” said Eistard.
    Stormi Campbell said that in accordance with her husband’s wishes, no memorial services would be held for Bob Campbell.
    “We hope in the next few months to have a celebration of his life near London Bridge,” she said.

  2. #2
    Rest in Peace!

  3. #3
    Sorry to read this. I grew up near Campbell Boats in Burbank and a 20 footer was my first performance boat. Got to know both Bill and Bob along with Bud Bailey. A good friend had them build the only 40 foot Campbell ever done. We took it to Catalina many times.
    I think of the phrase "Day Cruiser" whenever I think Campbell. They were innovators when hot boats were just starting to get popular. I hope a lot of old timers come on and share some stories...

  4. #4
    Originally posted by burtandnancy
    A good friend had them build the only 40 foot Campbell ever done. We took it to Catalina many times.
    That boat recently went through a major renovation and is in exceptional condition in Golden harbor (I think that's what it's called). I hear it still makes the channel crossing on a regular basis!

  5. #5
    One of the classic boats of all time. Campbell and LHC are almost synonamous (sp?) with one another. I think you will still find many Campbell boats in and out of LHC, the marinas, and boat lots, 50 years from now.

  6. #6
    Steamin' Rice
    I never knew that they made a 40 footer.. Does anybody have any pics of this?

  7. #7
    Thats sad...another boating pioneer gone..

  8. #8
    Great story, great boats, from a great man! Sad for sure.

  9. #9
    I am sad to hear about Bob, I would say if Campbell did not move to Lake Havasu, Spectra Marine would have never been started.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009

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