January 2, 1923 — June 5, 2019
Meg was the eldest child born to Mary Theresa (Bourgeois) Wright and William James Wright. She was raised near the Sandy River in rural Troutdale, Oregon, with her sisters, Virginia and Lorraine.
Meg graduated from Gresham High School in 1940, and received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Home Economics from Oregon State College in 1945. During World War II, she worked in a lumber mill and for Camp Fire Girls of America in Portland. All the Wright girls learned to fish and hunt and accompanied their parents to eastern Oregon for the annual deer hunt. Meg and her sisters, with their respective mates and various children over the years, carried on that tradition into their 70s.
Meg met Homer J. Campbell in 1946, and they were married in 1947. They had been married for 55 years when Homer died of cancer in 2002.
Meg’s degree, her practicality and her boundless creativity served her family of five children very well. She designed the house that she and Homer built in LaGrande, where their first four children were born. In 1956, the family moved to Corvallis so Homer could complete his Master’s degree at OSU.
Included in the rigors of parenting, Meg led Camp Fire Girls groups for all three of her daughters and baked innumerable pies for her sons’ Boy Scout troop award ceremonies. In 1959, the family moved from town to the five-acre farm near Philomath where the children all raised 4-H animals and helped harvest produce to sell. From the ever burgeoning gardens she and Homer planted, Meg canned or froze all the food it is possible to preserve, every year until well into her 80s.
With seed she brought from Peru in the early 1970s, she started one of the first alstroemeria (Peruvian lily) gardens in the valley, selling bouquets to local florists and at the Corvallis Farmers’ Market. Meg made time to create home flower beds she researched and designed on graph paper so there was something in bloom nearly every month of the year. Her pride and joy was her Victorian Garden of old roses. She created the traditional oval path with the old bricks from the original chimney on the 1887 farmhouse, and she volunteered with the Corvallis Rose Society to create the old rose garden in Avery Park.
Her energy was enormous and her appreciation of beauty was highly developed in all things. She played the piano from an early age; all her children remember the sweet phrases of Brahms wafting up the stairwell as they went to sleep. Meg developed pottery skills on a manual potting wheel in the 1970s and refinished multitudes of antiques over the years. Her home was beautiful, and she was an accomplished seamstress, sewing lovely clothing for the whole family. In the 1960s, Meg took her sewing machine, fabrics, patterns and kids out to valley migrant camps to teach this practical art to women there.
Meg learned Spanish in Peru, where she accompanied Homer on his United Nations job for three years and continued her studies in local groups until she was in her 80s. She and Homer made frequent trips to Mexico and Latin America.
After Homer died, she traveled to France, where her mother’s relatives came from, and to visit children she sponsored through the Christian Children’s Fund (now called ChildFund) in India, Vietnam and Ecuador. She kept journals of family trips through the years and began keeping a sketch and watercolor journal on later trips.
Camping and hiking were integral activities throughout Meg's life. She and Homer spent their honeymoon at the Graves Creek Ranger Station in Olympic National Park; later the family made yearly treks (with homemade wooden backpacks) into the Cascades and to southeast Oregon. Wandering along high mountain lakes or into petroglyph-laden desert canyons, Meg took great pleasure in whatever was on the land, from flowers to mountain ranges at dawn. She took thousands of color slides, dating and labeling each one.
Meg was an avid history buff; she particularly enjoyed the ancient history of any land she visited, adding notes from museum plaques and pamphlets to her journals. The millennia of indigenous history in Oregon was a favorite subject, and her slides of petroglyphs and the ancient great lake beds of Warner Valley are stunning. Her love of Nature and reverence for the land were communicated most strongly to all of her children.
Meg’s sense of beauty combined with her sense of civic responsibility led to her early involvement in Greenbelt Land Trust. She wanted public land preserved all around her community that would give local wildlife and people a place to breathe free. That idea was appealing to many and through her organizational skills, persistence and persuasion, and the efforts of many people, that idea is now a fact.
Meg’s interest in cross-cultural understanding led to deep involvement with American Field Service for high-schoolers. Through that program, Pierre-Yves Moeschler from Switzerland shared the Campbell version of American life for a year in 1971. He remains her cherished son and brother to the family. Meg and Homer became early proponents of the Beyond War Movement in the 1980s. The Crossroads International program through OSU was another of her interests — many holiday meals at the farmhouse included guests newly arrived from other countries.
In 1984, Meg and Homer served in the Corrymeela Community in Ireland, where cross-cultural understanding between religious factions continues to be promoted. The couple was active in Corvallis Sister Cities Association and visited Uzhhorod, Ukraine shortly after it was named a sister city to Corvallis in 1989. Furthering the aims of unity in diversity, Meg was an early supporter of the Foundation for Global Community.
Through the years, Meg participated in many organizations that dealt with local causes she believed in: Corvallis Men’s Homeless Shelter, Philomath Community Response Team; Marys Peak Natural Resources Interpretive Center; Troutdale Historical Society; and the Benton County Historical Society, among others. She was a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church.
Despite her many activities in the community, Meg was a very private person who needed solitude in nature to feel whole. Her mother referred to Meg’s solitary nature, calling her “my little lone wolf.” Meg is remembered by many for her gracious manners that, despite the toll taken by her advanced age, remained to the end.
Meg is survived by her children, David Campbell (Mary), Linda Campbell, Robert Campbell, Kate Campbell (Karen Chase), Janet Cornelius (Kevin); grandchildren, Christopher Campbell (Kari Pape), Megan Osborne (Kevin Perry), Craig Leman (Sarah Nickel), Eric Leman (Maria); Jennifer Sandoz (Scott Wolas); great-grandchildren, Jacob Campbell, Charlotte Campbell and Chloe Wolas; and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Meg’s name to the charity of your choice. During her long life, she faithfully supported many causes, including Audubon of Corvallis, Corrymeela Community, ChildFund, Habitat for Humanity, and Greenbelt Land Trust.
Her children are extremely appreciative of the staff of Lumina Hospice and Palliative Care, whose skilled and compassionate care was crucial to easing her passing — in her own home — as she wished.
Please join us in celebrating Meg’s life at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 21, at Cornelius Orchard and Farm, 3375 SW 53rd Street. This is an outdoor venue; please dress comfortably!