Lois Eileen Campbell
Lois Eileen Campbell (nee Coons) was born on Nov. 15, 1928, the eldest of four surviving children of Dalton and Dorothy Coons of Toyes Hill, near Winchester Springs. She was an exceptional scholar and entered Winchester High School at the tender age of 11. She attended Normal School in Ottawa and taught from 1947 to 1954 at Mountain, New Liskeard and Paris, Ontario (her mother and three aunts were also teachers), before following in the footsteps of her legendary Dundas County midwife, grandmother Nettie Coons.
She spent the next 29 years of her life at the Montreal Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University as a nurse in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for which she was head nurse and later neonatal supervisor for most of her career.
From the late 1950s until Mrs. Campbell retired early in the 1980s, the VIC’s NICU was the site of much groundbreaking research work enabling more premature infants to survive and lead healthy lives.The medical team under Dr. Bob Usher relied greatly upon a dedicated foursome of nurses: Mrs. Campbell, Francie McLean, Betty Allatt and Marion Copp – to make and apply these advances.
Mrs. Campbell reached the preemies – even the sick ones – by embracing them and softly singing simple nursery rhymes as soon as they could be out of the incubator. She took a two-year break from the NICU, 1971-1973, to get her Bachelor of Nursing Degree fromMcGill.
Her last 22 years were spent getting son Timothy through college, getting him married (to Saritha) and welcoming her only grandchild, Shalini Joy, now five years old. She also spent the last 22 years of her life in a loving relationship with her husband Keith in Belleville.
Mrs. Campbell always insisted Dundas County was special. Things grown there tasted better – apples, corn, whatever. It was the soil, she said. Remember, she was raised three kilometres from the site of the original McIntosh tree, it sprouting in 1796 and dying nine years before she was born.
Mrs. Campbell had a deep commitment to family. She was forever taking Tim on visits to the family farm or on holidays with his cousins to parks, lakes and ocean-side resorts, just so that little Tim, living way off in big Montreal, would be well acquainted with his Dundas County grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.
Mrs. Campbell was an avid sports fan, cheering for the six-man high school football team, limited by the number of uniforms; for the Inkerman Rockets; the Canadiens; the Expos; the Boston Bruins; and latterly, the Blue Jays. On her last day on earth, Sun., June 30, 2002, she enjoyed watching with her husband the finals of the World Cup of Soccer, cheering for Germany.
Mrs. Campbell had a big heart, supporting church, charities and causes, keeping in close touch with family and friends, and living the spirit of generosity. She will be sorely missed.