Remembering Reg Campin

Published on Thu, Feb 27, 2003
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Remembering Reg Campin

Last Saturday hundreds gathered at the Blaine performing arts center to remember the rich life and lasting legacy of a man who formed the minds and characters of generations of Blaine students. Reg Campin was principal of Blaine�s high school for almost 30 years and a member of the Blaine community for more than half a century. Reg passed away on February 13, but in the memories of scores of Blaine residents, he�s still very much alive, as a friend, a neighbor and a teacher. Here are some of their thoughts...

All of us who knew Reg realize how fortunate we were to have had the opportunity of spending part of our pilgrimage on Earth in the company of this most distinguished gentleman. Reg dedicated his life to teaching, guiding, and inspiring the students who passed through Blaine high school. He prepared us for the challenges we would face by instilling in us necessary academic skills. More importantly he served as a model of compassion, decency, and character, and how he was rewarded for his efforts and for providing us with an example of impeccable integrity. He was admired by all, and he was rewarded by having as his lifetime companion, his wife, the lovely and vivacious Vivian who shared his burdens and brightened his pathway. The spirit of Reg Campin lives on in all who knew him.
Bob Bayless

Looking back over the more than 50 years that I have known Reg Campin, both as my high school principal and my friend, I can only say that he was a wonderful role model to my generation. As a principal, he was fair but firm. Fortunately, he kept me on the right track in high school and I will be forever grateful for that. He gave of himself to his students and to the community. I will always remember him as a friend and supporter, not only in school but through all these many years.
Bob Thorstenson

Growing up along 3rd Street, Karen, Fontene, Larry, Doug, John, Bill, Gary and I lived close to Mr. and Mrs. Campin. We played football in each other�s yard, �kick the can� during the evenings and always felt safe in our neighborhood. Our families knew each other and generally life was good. When it was time for high school we didn�t have to be nervous � we knew the principal! He was our friend and neighbor.

As I reflect on those years, I recall time spent in Mr. Campin�s office, not by choice! I �earned� those visitation rights even though Miss Cronk did all she could to keep me from making poor choices! Mr. Campin was stern, but fair and we left his office with a better understanding of what it meant to be a Borderite.

Upon returning to Blaine to become a teacher at the high school, I found Mr. Campin�s presence still visible. The science building has his picture and his influence was still evident. I still had trouble, however, referring to him other than Mr. Campin. Respect for him, his position, and what he stood for, meant more than calling him Reg.

His dedication to school and his community was shared with his first love � Vivian. Together they were a perfect couple, dedicated to each other, to our school system, and this caring community. We all could still learn from such a dedicated educator, leader and civic minded man who truly loved Blaine, Washington.
John Liebert

Reg Campin was the principal and chemistry teacher when I was at Blaine high school. He was such a nice man, caring and concerned for all the students in his school. Everyone respected and liked him. He helped and encouraged all who came to him for information. When I was getting ready to go to college, he made special arrangements for me to take the SAT test, which was not universally used at that time, but was needed for the college of my choice.

It was in later years that I found out that he had a big three-ring notebook containing all the names of those who graduated from Blaine high school during the years that he was teacher/principal there, and he could look up any class and have information about those who were in that class. He was proud of all his students, and enjoyed learning of successes in their lives. He and his wife Vivian were welcome guests at all class reunions over the years, visiting with as many as they could attend.
Jan Hrutfiord

I graduated from Blaine high school back in 1947 and my memories of that time of my life are pretty dim by now. I don�t think I was a very serious student, I seem to recall that I thought high school was mainly for having fun. I had no idea what I�d do when I got out of school and didn�t give it much thought, but I supposed I could always get a job at the mill. However, Reg Campin steered me into taking the courses that made it possible for me to go to college and get a degree. As it turned out, I worked in lumber mills most of my working life anyway, but thanks to Reg, I ended up in sales and management rather than pulling lumber on the green chain.

It was after I was grown that I got to know Reg. The Campins were close friends of my parents and after my folks moved to Anacortes where we were living, Vivian and Reg would come down to visit, so I�d see them from time to time. It was a real joy to get to know Reg as an adult. Not everyone has a chance to know his teachers later on in life, and I feel so fortunate to be able to think of Reg as a friend.
James Morrison

Reg never taught any of my �good subjects� and after one particularly dismal chemistry test a classmate noticed that he had missed marking one of my incorrect answers which would make my grade go from C to D.

With Marian Aanes looking on, I had to tell him.

Reg remarked that Diogenes had looked for one. Of course, he then had to tell me about Diogenes � a Greek philosopher who went around at midday with a lighted lantern looking for an honest man. It made a big impression and I also decided to study harder. Reg remembered the person, not the grade.

Who would think that your high school principal would be one of your dearest friends? A great man � kind and fair and caring.
Alma Wagner

Mr. Reg W. Campin came to Blaine school the same year the Point Roberts school district amalgamated with the Blaine school district sending to Blaine grades seven through 12. He met our school bus to welcome us and to offer any help we needed for an easy transition into what we considered a large school, considering there was only five of us in grade 10 at Point Roberts.

We, the class of 1943, were the first class completing two years under Mr. Campin�s tutorship. He attended all our class reunions. He will be the topic of loving remembrances, this year, our 60th.

He wasn�t just an ordinary teacher. He went to great lengths to keep students in school � tutoring when needed, counseling, even visiting homes of parents to let them know what was expected of their children.

Mr. Campin and his wife, Vivian, would attend most of the school�s athletic games, concerts and travelling assemblies, truly involved with all the students. A great mentor.

Campin was firm when disciplining but ended up with kind words of encouragement to do better. He had a good track record, most all of his students were successful in their future endeavors. He did have a blue book (not black) that he recorded all his graduated students with wonderful comments and he could name nearly all of them and kept track (grads from 1943 through 1971) through all of the reunions. We truly were all important to him.

At times, some of us thought of him being too tough, but I�m sure now we could say he has 99.9 percent of our love and respect of all his past students.
Virginia Wampler

Reg Campin was an outstanding and inspiring teacher, especially in chemistry. During the period of approximately 1945 to 1955, about a half a dozen Blaine graduates who had started studying chemistry under Campin stayed with the subject and earned PhD degrees in chemistry. This is way out of proportion for the small number of students in Blaine schools at that time to go in chemistry. This is due to really good instruction and encouragement from Mr. Campin.
Bjorn Hrutfiord

Mr. Campin taught geometry, physics and chemistry when I was in high school. Unfortunately, in the 40s girls didn�t often choose to take these challenging classes, so I didn�t have the opportunity to have him as a teacher. Girls in those days studied home economics and music as electives.

In my senior year, I had the privilege of working in his office one hour each day. It was called �office practice� and we got credit for it. It was wonderful experience and he and I became great friends. One clear, cold day in January, I skipped school to go ice skating on a pond here on the Point. For punishment he had me sew the curtains for the stage in the gym. He could dole out punishment with a smile on his face. He was always smiling. Another time all the Point Roberts kids decided to skip school and have a picnic. That time, he wasn�t too pleased and we all had to stay in at noon recess for a week. The worst part was, he said to me, �I didn�t think Point Roberts kids would do that.� I felt really sad that we had disappointed him. And it was my idea.
Sylvia Thorstenson Schonberg