Clyde Harvey Campbell Jr.

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Clyde Harvey Campbell Jr. Obituary

To use breeder lingo, Harvey was the first "cross" of Clyde Campbell and Gertrude Martheray, arriving July 30, 1928 in Santa Barbara. From Clyde, a respected building contractor, Harvey inherited the "traits" of analyzing facts, formulating a plan and then executing it; from Gertrude, a legal secretary and extraordinary gardener, Harvey acquired his quick and puckish wit, joi de vivre and lifelong fascination with plants.

Harvey was very much a child of the Depression. While many were worse off than the Campbells, Clyde had to scramble for work and Gertrude worked long hours typing, filing, scheduling and making excuses for her lawyer bosses. Harvey always had a job of one sort or another growing up in Santa Barbara. Harvey never hesitated his whole life to pick up a penny or hide a roll in his pocket. And his two favorite expressions came from those times: "Hang by your thumbs" and "Write when you find work." Since the Campbell jalopy was always breaking down, Harv had to learn how to improvise with what was at hand. It didn't cost anything to swim in the ocean and Harv learned to swim at the old municipal plunge at a very early age. Harv loved to body surf, skin dive and, later in life, sail. Harvey was a star on his college water polo team which he coached while getting his masters.

In 1951, the best thing in Harvey's life happened. Phyllis Wright, a Saticoy girl, and Harvey fell in love and were married. Phyllis worked to put Harvey through U C Davis (BS Plant Science 1951, MS Agronomy 1954). Phyllis nursed a very sick Harvey while he battled Valley Fever for two years. Phyllis continued to work and raised daughter Debb and son David while the Campbells moved around California and Hawaiian farm towns in the 50's and 60's. After Harvey struck out on his own in Bakersfield as an ag consultant in 1974, Phyllis ran Harvey's office, --keeping the books, doing the filing, writing the checks and keeping Harvey organized and on time. In their retirement years, Phyllis became Harvey's travel guide and companion. Throughout their 65 years together, Phyllis was always the gracious and accomplished hostess, adding her rapier sharp wit to every social occasion. And in Harvey's last days, she continued to provide him with the care, support and love that marked their whole life together.

As so ably reported by Steve Mayer last week in The Californian, perhaps Harvey's two most important achievements were (1) breeding superior lines of Acala cotton which by the 1990's were planted in more than a half million acres in the San Joaquin Valley and (2) ending CPCSD's and the Acala Cotton Board's stranglehold over the cotton industry in the Valley. Harvey believed in competition and freedom. He loathed arbitrary government boards and officials who are so often easily manipulated by vested interests. Harvey made a lot of enemies among some of the "good old boys" in the cotton industry. Harvey could have cared less. He believed that cotton farmers should have multiple varieties of Acala to choose from, not just one variety mandated by a "district" manipulated by one seed company. Harvey also believed that farmers should also be free to grow all types of cotton in the San Joaquin Valley, such as Pima and even naturally colored cotton, not just Acala. Harvey helped rewrite the One Variety District Law in 1990 to allow Pima to be grown and lobbied the Legislature to let Pima into the Valley. Not surprisingly, Harvey was a staunch Republican. When asked which "wing" of the party he favored, Harvey liked to say he was a member of "Charles Darwin's Wing."

Wherever they lived, Harvey and Phyllis had a beautiful garden. He shared his bounty of flowers, tomatoes, vegetables, berries and citrus with friends and strangers. Long a promoter of California wines, Harvey valued his 40 plus year relationship with Joe Phelps, son Bill Phelps and all his other friends at Phelps Winery. Harvey and Phyllis were always the gracious hosts, sharing good food and wine with their many friends. Harvey lived a long and full life and always with gusto, even bungee jumping in New Zealand at age 75!

In addition to wife Phyllis, Harvey is survived by his brother Marty and his wife Carol, daughter Debb and her husband Jim Parker, and grandson Max Caughron and his wife Soyoung Kim. Predeceasing Harvey were son David and grandson Christopher Caughron. As per Harvey's wishes, there will be no services; instead Harvey wanted his friends to toast his memory with a glass (or two) of good California red wine. He also asked that those who wished to make a charitable donation in his memory consider donating to Family House Inc., 50 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122 or familyhouseinc.org.

Harvey's family wish to express their deep appreciation for the loving care provided to Harvey by the staff of Optimal Hospice, Rosewood Retirement Community and by Lisa Hudson, our night angel. Harvey's ashes will be spread in the Auau Channel between Maui and Lanai where Harvey spent many happy days diving for black coral and lobsters and spearing fish.

Sail on, Harvey.

The wind is freshening and a new world beyond the horizon is calling.

Sail on. Sail on.

Published in Bakersfield Californian on Jan. 29, 2016
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