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Erick G. Campbell, 1947 - 2021

Fern Davies

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Erick George Campbell, 73, of Vancouver, WA, passed away March 31, 2021, of organ failure. He was born, in his words, “Twelve-Eleven-Forty-Seven” (December 11, 1947) in La Mesa, CA, to Brent and Rita Campbell, and was a proud La Mesan and Helix High School graduate for his entire adult life. At Helix, he had a good career as a wrestler and football player.

A lifelong birder, he studied at Humboldt State University and made his career in Wildlife Biology, focusing at various moments in his life on the Kestrel (master’s thesis), the Sage Grouse, and the Spotted Owl for Bureau of Land Management. One of his proud accomplishments was the creation of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Sierra Vista, AZ, created through his leadership in 1988. Always more interested in lunch than work, he enjoyed Indian buffets, and, even more so, a good hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant. He constantly embarrassed his former partner and children by practicing his Spanish with waiters and waitresses.


Erick was quick-witted and fierce in his execution of a good rib. He passed along these traits to his children, as well as his immense love of travel. He took both his sons to Peru in their young-adulthood, taught them to travel wisely and often, and considered that his goal in life after retirement, to see the world and all its birds.

Family was of utmost importance to Erick. His mother’s Swedish heritage was a lifelong source of pride, and he collected recipes, artifacts, and family history from that arm of his ancestry with ferocity. He was able to visit the homeland in August 2012, meeting extended family and making that lifelong connection in person.

Erick is survived by sisters, Jan and Karin; children, Colin and Lars; former partner, Amy; granddaughter, Emily; and many nieces and nephews from the Birrenkotts, Cotas, and Campbells. He was preceded in death by parents, Brent and Rita; and by his older brother, Bob.
Donations may be made in his name to the Audubon Society, whose mission is to protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation, at audubon.org

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