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Feature

Barbara Lee Campbell 

Barbara Lee Campbell, born August 13, 1936, passed away on October 3, 2022, at home with her family surrounding her in all their love.  

Barbara moved from Michigan and made Topanga Canyon her forever home in 1973. A mother of six children, she is survived by her sons Michael J. Campbell, Brian J. Campbell, and Daniel F Campbell; and, daughter Catherine A Campbell; grandchildren Amelia M. Campbell, Andy E. Campbell, Annika J. Campbell, Mia J. Campbell, Amanda J. Campbell, Nicole R. Campbell, Leena R. Themistocleous, and great grandchildren Vida A. Themistocleous and Mateo A. Themistocleous, as well as countless other people who came to call her family. She was predeceased by two sons: Shawn P. Campbell and Patrick D. Campbell. 

A devout Catholic, she walked through her life with strong morals of kindness, respect, integrity, and most of all: love. She approached each challenge in life with iron-willed determination; no goal was out of reach, no hope too far away. She embodied bravery and kindness in everything she did. In her 50s, to dispel a lifelong fear of horses, she faced her challenge head-on and bought two of them, who soon became treasured companions. She approached each area of her life with the same bravado; from learning to ride roller skates in her 60s, to building a name for herself in Topanga real estate. She knew the terrain of Topanga well and it knew her—walking miles most days across the Canyon, volunteering in the community fire watch, or riding her horses on the trails. 

She not only will be remembered by the mountains that she cared for, but by the people that they house. Her door was always open for anyone who needed a home-cooked meal or a place to stay. Often her home was filled not only with her children and grandchildren, but with people in need who soon became family. Some would stay for a night, a month, even years. Every week, you could find her in the grocery store pushing two carts full of food to feed whoever was lucky enough to come through her doors. 

Thanksgiving was a community affair—anyone astray without a place to go went to Barbara Campbell’s home to enjoy her handmade pies and share in the laughter and warmth that radiated throughout. She redefined what the word ‘mother’ means, turned it into a word without limits, without the need for blood relation, and so many have been left feeling more whole for meeting her. To say she will be missed is far beyond an understatement. Her absence is felt in our hearts not as a hole without a missing piece, but as a glowing light–aching with loss, yes, but we, like the mountains, are left better than she found us.

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