Just before Christmas, on December 15th, we said goodbye to Lennie Campbell (1928 – 2016) who, until illness prevented him was a regular and faithful member of St Chrysostom’s. His son Mike, from New York, organised a fitting farewell service at which Fr Chris spoke. Here is an edited version of Fr Chris’ address:
Where does one start? It is a difficult task to say something about someone who has died without leaving out many facts about their life.
When I met Lennie over 14 years ago. I met a man who was a diligent and careful server – faithfully carrying the cross in and out for the Sunday Mass which he never failed to attend.
I was impressed that he would always take his robes home with him, to wash and iron his cotta. He put others to shame in his appearance.
That might seem to be a strange reflection – but, such diligence demonstrates a care and affection for his role as crucifer, and indeed of his love of our Lord.
He had his own idiosyncrasies which one grew fond of, and which we have missed. One was his own way of venerating the altar, which was a mixture of bow, and half genuflection – almost, but not quite, a form of courtesy.
Lennie would come to Church with Louise Da Cacodia. They were stalwarts of the congregation, and beacons who showed many of us the best way to engage with others, and especially people of colour.
Lennie was always impeccably dressed. But there was of course much more to Lennie than his appearance. We knew only too well of his quiet and deep chuckle. He would smile and laugh quietly at things. This was something by which he quietly encouraged others.
He was a man who encouraged others in many other ways – not always by what he did, but by what he did not do. Not joining in with tittle tattle, or gossiping, or with anger or being difficult about progress.
He was encouraging of people in their faith journeys.
We have heard that he was slow to anger, but he was quick to chortle and smile.
Lennie was a servant of God, and his service served as a beacon of light and hope to others.
Lennie Campbell was a gentleman in every understanding of that word. A Gentle Man in his dealings with others, a gentle man in his faith, a great and gentle friend to many.
May Lennie Rest in Peace and rise in Glory. Amen