A Eulogy for Margaret Campbell: Volunteer Leader Extraordinaire

Margaret Campbell with Hillsides CEO Joe Costa and
The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno

Word came a few weeks ago that one our long time community leaders, Margaret Campbell had passed away after a brief illness. Just about a month ago Margaret and I had one of our occasional luncheons and although she was already frail, she was never-the-less very much engaged as I shared with her some of the initiatives that we are entraining at Hillsides. As always, she was keenly interested and provided great advice on how to pursue our mission. She was witty, entertaining, and insightful.

Margaret was introduced to me by my predecessor John Hitchcock. During the month and a half, John and I spent together before I assumed the position of CEO, we visited a number of community leaders. At the top of his list of people for me to meet was Margaret. He got animated in describing her to me, as sharp witted, opinionated, determined, and an unapologetic advocate for Hillsides. He counseled me that although he didn’t always agree with Margaret, he did never-the-less always respect her commitment and appreciated her dedication to the children we serve.
Our luncheon meeting was the first of many at which Margaret provided me with one of her many pieces of advice like “dear, you need to patronize those who support you.” She was the master of the quid pro quo and was never ashamed of soliciting support for Hillsides, always quick to make note of the value local businesses gained from association with such a respected charitable organization. It was a delightful first encounter and an important introduction to someone for whom I quickly came to respect, admire, and care about.
Subsequent luncheons provided Margaret an opportunity to introduce me to yet other donors and supporters. They were occasions when she would fill me in on what was going on with various people and offer insights into the history and development of Hillsides over the last four decades. From those meetings I left not only having a better sense of Margaret, but also a great appreciation of many who are so significant to the well being of the institution. More than anything else, I learnt that I could count on Margaret as an advisor, a donor, and as a friend. Her loss is profound for all of us at Hillsides.
Margaret was an advocate for the children, youth, and families we serve. Years ago in her role as the president of the Hillsides board of directors, Margaret penned a letter to the editor advocating for needed funding. She ended the letter by saying of Hillsides, “your heart will be warmed by the healing that goes on each and every day at Hillsides…we would like nothing more than to see the need for our agency become obsolete…sadly, however, I do not think I will be blessed enough to see the end of child abuse in my lifetime.”
Although Margaret died before seeing the end of child abuse, she did see the great impact we have on the abused, neglected, and vulnerable children and youth we serve; and she was proud of how our collective effort has led to lasting changing for all we serve.
One of the areas close to Margaret’s heart was the chaplain’s program at Hillsides. She believed deeply in the strength, comfort, and peace that come from spiritual nourishment. She was also an avid supporter of the philosophy that every child has unique gifts to share with the world, and viewed the chaplain’s program as key to this path of discovery. For this reason, her family designated memorial funds towards Margaret Campbell Chaplain’s Fund to support the needs of this program.
Our mission continues and it is strengthened by the devotion and unwavering support of Margaret Campbell. In her memory we sustain the indispensable services we offer.
May she rest in peace!

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