Maria Anna Krystyna Campbell (29 Jul 1954 - 30 Dec 2014)

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Funeral Service

Location
Holy Spirit Church Corner of Victoria Road and Melton Road West Bridgford, Notts NG2 7NT
Date
19th Jan 2015
Time
10.30am
Funeral Director
A.W. Lymn West Bridgford

In loving memory of the late Maria Anna Krystyna Campbell who sadly passed away on 30th December 2014


Tribute to Krysia by her husband, Peter (as presented at the funeral service).

"Saying ‘goodbye’ to someone you’ve loved for almost 40 years is hard, of course. The sadness can be overwhelming. But today is about celebrating Krysia’s life. The grieving can come later.

So, I hope you’ll bear with me while I take you on a brief tour of Krysia’s life, and share with you some great memories.

Krysia was born in Nottingham in 1954. She was the youngest of 3 children, having 2 older brothers. Her parents were both from Poland. They had both been taken from their homes and deported from Poland during the 2nd world war. After long journeys they eventually arrived in England where they met and married.

Krysia has told me that her childhood was happy and that her brothers were very protective of her when she was little. However, she did tell me how she often wanted to join in the games of her brother Zbys and his friends, when she was quite small. And sometimes they would allow this, on condition that she would be a guinea pig in their experiments. So she would take an active role in helping them answer important scientific questions, such as ‘will a tin bath float on the River Trent, with somebody in it’.

Kiks would have been in her mid teens when I first met her, but we didn’t start going out together until her late teens. It was a bit of a long distance relationship, as we were both at university at different ends of the country.

When she left University, she decided she wanted to broaden her horizons, and see some of the world. So we went our separate ways for a while. She spent some time on a Kibbutz in Israel. She also spent a year in Greece working as a Nanny for a family in Athens. After this she went to teacher training college and obtained her teaching qualifications. She started work at a school in Guildford.

In the late ‘70s, she got a teaching job in Nottingham. It was at this time that we started seeing each other again, and we finally married in 1980.

After the first year of marriage, we decided it was time to start a family. However, things didn't quite go as we expected, and several years later we were still trying. We then had several more years of fertility tests and treatment, all to no avail. We were on the verge of giving up on our dream of a family, when on the last day of 1987, we discovered she was pregnant.

So the following August, Rosie was born. Then 2 years later, along came Zosia, and our family was complete.

I believe Kiks’ motherhood years were her happiest. Like any Mother, her first priority in the early years was to keep the children safe from harm. Then, she wanted to make sure they had a good education. And then she wanted to provide them with a loving, secure, and stimulating home environment, so that they had the best chance of reaching their full potential.

Those of you who know our amazing girls today will appreciate how successful she was as a Mother.

Things didn’t always go to plan, however. She was prone to a bit of overanxiety at times, which sometimes led to mistakes. One of my favourite memories of Kiks is from when we were on holiday in Norfolk when the girls were about 6 and 8. We were walking from the pedestrianised shopping precinct in Lowestoft, to the beach. We had to cross a busy road, using a pelican crossing, to get to the beach. As we reached the crossing, the little man turned to red. I could see Kiks tensing up, watching the cars and lorries thundering past. A small crowd of people gathered at the crossing as we were waiting to cross, but Kiks was focussed on the little red man, and was clearly determined to get the girls safely across the road as fast as possible. So when the man turned green, she reached down and grabbed a little hand with each of hers, and charged across the road. And I have an image in my head, which will always make me smile, of Kiks marching across the road with Rosie in one hand, and a little old lady in the other. Both were having to run to keep up.

So, she didn’t always get it right, but she always had their best interests at heart.

It was when the girls were 11 and 13 that cancer struck for the first time. It was a serious type of cancer, with low long-term survival rates. But she had major surgery and radiotherapy, and made a pretty good recovery. We were always grateful for the extra 12 years that this treatment gave us. It enabled her to see our children grow to adulthood, and it enabled them to have a Mother through those tricky teenage years.

Apart from her teaching jobs, Kiks had a number of other jobs once the children were both at school. Most notably, she worked as an IT Trainer for South Notts College for several years. And more recently she worked as a Health Secretary for the NHS, and for Nottingham City Couincil.

So, what did she get up to in her spare time? Well, after her family, her next love was her garden. She would spend many happy hours potting, planting, pruning, weeding in our beautiful garden.

She also enjoyed playing the piano - she’d been taking piano lessons for a few years before she became ill. She enjoyed the normal things like reading, going to the cinema, dining out. She liked going on holidays to warm countries, and swimming in the sea.

In recent years, she caught my and Zosia’s passion for Liverpool Football Club. Which is kind of ironic, as in the early years of our marriage, when I was absorbed in a match on TV, she would say things like ‘sometimes I think you love Liverpool more than me’. But recently she started getting interested in the games herself, and started coming to matches with us. She knew all the players names, and even understood about referees having poor eyesight. Actually, it got to the point where she’d be absorbed in a match on the TV, and I’d have to stop myself from saying ‘sometimes I think you love Liverpool more than me’.

Many of you will be aware that last Summer, despite still struggling with the side effects of her surgery, she took part in a sponsored abseil down the wall of the Queens Medical Centre, along with our daughters. Together, they raised over £1700 for a children’s cancer charity.

In the months before she became ill, Kiks spent a lot of time researching and documenting her family history. She produced family trees for both sides of her family going back several generations. And she documented the early lives of her parents, including their deportation from Poland, and their journeys across Europe, Asia, Africa, and back to Europe. She also translated some of the letters her parents had written to each other during those years, before they actually met. She wanted to make sure that future generations of the family have the opportunity to learn about the struggles of their ancestors during those difficult years.

Kiks was a good friend to many, she was a loving mother to our children, and she was a beautiful, wonderful wife to me, and my best friend, and it's been an absolute privilege to have been married to her for the last 34 years. "

Mary Yates donated £20 in memory of Maria
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Maureen Snowden donated £10 in memory of Maria
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Veronica French wrote

In memory of dear Krisia. Love Veronica, Phil, Magnus and Flora.

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Veronica French wrote

Dear Peter, Rosie and Zosia

When I think of Krysia, I think of so many things, but above all I think of family. Of her deep love for all of you and also for the family she was born into.

Some thirteen or fourteen years ago, when Phil and I were still deliberating about whether to try for children, we had a conversation with you (Peter) and Krysia about family life. Our view was that parenthood seemed to involve rather too much sacrifice and that perhaps the child-free life was preferable. I can't remember exactly what you both said, but the essential thrust of it was - having children is wonderful! Your reaction helped to convince us and look at the fine mess you've got us into :)

As our son and daughter were growing , Krysia was always interested to hear about their development, their interests, behaviours and quirky ways. If I was expressing frustration or bemusement at some phase they were going through, she would often be able to see the situation from their point of view and offer helpful insights. Even though she had girls herself, I always felt she was good at understanding how a boy might experience things differently. Perhaps growing up with George and Zpys gave her a natural empathy for boys (particularly those misunderstood by certain authority figures - as were/are Zpys and Magnus!).

As we talked, memories of Rosie and Zosia's early childhoods would often occur to her and she would delightedly regale me with vivid descriptions of their early antics. She looked back on those times as having been really precious and I know if she had had the opportunity, she would have been a wonderful grandmother.

You both offered to look after Magnus and Flora from a young age and Phil and I really appreciated you having them over at yours. We always felt confident that they were in safe hands and they had a great time bouncing on the trampoline and playing with Rosie and Zosia's childhood toys. Krysia also babysat for us on a number of occasions and the children were always given thoughtful gifts at Christmas - a pop up book of the Nutcracker is still one of Flora's favourites and the Dr Who electric toothbrush and the Just William books were perfect choices for Magnus.

As well as gifts for the children, I often left Krysia's piano lessons with more than just my fee. During the Spring and Summer, after the lesson Krysia would often take me out into garden to see the blossom and the tulips, or the peonies and the roses. She'd tiptoe into the greenhouse to show me the nesting robins or the seedlings pushing up through the compost. Then, before I left she'd wrap me up some cuttings or perhaps a courgette or tomato plant. It was far better than a trip to the garden centre! The pink, flowering Lavatera that dances over our front fence every Summer, was grown from one of those early Krysia cuttings, planted just after we moved into the house. Many people comment on it and we have even had a stranger knock on the front door to request a cutting for themselves. Krysia's green fingers have no doubt touched many gardens, but one of my abiding memories will be of her in her own beautiful garden, smiling and delighting in nature's bounty.

Another vivid memory will be of Krysia playing the piano. She said she had wanted to learn for years, but it wasn't until the girls were older that she felt she had some time to devote to taking lessons and practising. I'm not sure how many years I taught her for in total, but as she and I discussed a few months ago, she shouldn't really have paid me for those lessons, because essentially I was just having a good time with a friend! We played lots of duets, and many of her favourite solo pieces were classics that I enjoyed too, such as Brahms' Lullaby and the Entr'acte from Schubert's Rosamunde. Krysia's piano playing was something just for her, for her own pleasure and relaxation. She liked it if Peter commented that he had enjoyed a piece, but otherwise she didn't really want to perform for others. So it was only under pressure from me, that she reluctantly took part in my annual pupil concerts. I used to try and convince her that she would experience a ' high' once the applause started, but she said that never happened! She always performed well, but after a few years she asked to be excused from my concerts (I realise what a tyrant I was/am). We reached a compromise - she would play during the interval, her stipulation being that people should continue talking to each other and not listen to her playing - that request was actually written in the programme. No one could ever describe Krysia as a Prima donna!

Krysia was a kind, funny, loyal, intelligent person. She was always interested and interesting and I will miss her hugely.

My thoughts are with all of Krysia's family and especially with you Peter, Rosie and Zosia as you face the loss of a wonderful wife and mother.

With Love
Veronica

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Veronica French wrote

In memory of Dear Krysia, with love Veronica, Phil, Magnus and Flora

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Bernadette Turner donated £30 in memory of Maria

Kyrsia you will be sadly missed.
Our love and prayers for Peter, Rosie and Zosia
God bless
John, Bernie, Clair and Nora

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Evonne Rogers wrote

Krysia was an incredible, strong and caring person. I will so miss our chats. I know how much Krysia adored her family and how much she was loved which is the true measure of a person. My thoughts are with Pete and the family at this difficult time. God Bless.

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Peter Campbell donated £50 in memory of Maria
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Peter Campbell donated £50 in memory of Maria
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Sue Hill donated £50 in memory of Maria
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Rosie Campbell donated £20 in memory of Maria
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zbigniew lesiak donated in memory of Maria
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Zofia Campbell donated £20 in memory of Maria
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Zofia Campbell donated £20 in memory of Maria
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Ola Michon wrote

When the grown up uncles and aunties would congregate together with their wine, their card playing, their laughter and their reminiscences of their war-torn homesteads, their nightmare journeys from Poland to Russia through Syria, Palestine, Africa and finally their last destinations of Nottingham and Melton Mowbray, us children cousins would gather together to play. Not entirely untouched by our parents experiences, we somehow, even from an early age were suffused with a passed on remembrance of a dark Siberian forest. As with all immigrants –the family, the raising of children, the gathering together of this new generation, the passing on of culture, was incredibly important, it signalled the triumph of survival. We cousins, loved being all together, we felt part of a big extended loving family.

Kiks was always special to me as she was the best sort of girl, she was a tom-boy, with skinny beatnik jeans, plaits and sandals she hated having her picture taken and would scowl rather than smile in photos which as Melton cousin Nunia recently remarked was so strange as she was so beautiful. Kiks wanted to be one of the boys, and because she had two older brothers, and being two years older than me -I wanted to be like Kiks and be one of the boys too.

I loved the Lesiaks household, Kiks and her brothers being scientifically minded were always involved in sort of experiment involving chemistry sets and those strange things which could be bought from the back of Marvel comics of which the Lesiaky had a large stash . Their house was always filled with old books and paintings which Uncle Lesiak had inherited from the houses he bought in West Bridgford. Often we would play a knowledge game which had a little silver robot with a pointing stick where you could position the robot onto a question and then by the magical means of some sort of magnet the pointing robot would point to the right answer.

This pointing robot remains for me a significant metaphor for the quest for knowledge which was always present at the Lesiaks. Sometimes when I would visit Kiks, now a teenager would be studying hard for some exam or other, surrounded by pages and pages of biology revision, she would be serious and anxious that she would not pass her exams which of course she always did. The house would be quiet and serious, but she would take time out to take her infuriating little cousin (me) for walks along the Trent. We were like some latter day Famous Five when Zbys and George would join us and we would embark on some now long forgotten quest along the marshes often with Kropka an over exuberant terrier in tow.

Then there were sunny halcyon days where we would walk around the park laughing whilst listening to the Goons or Round the Horn on a little transistor radio. Zbys and George and maybe Kiks were by now either at or just about to go to university and to me it all seemed very sophisticated, and intellectually glamorous.

But when I think of Kiks I also remember how we liked to dress up or play with 1940’s style paper dolls. Kiks had a beautiful navy crepe dress, sewn by her mum my Ciocia (auntie) Renia, there was always a touch of 40s Hollywood glamour in our dress-up costuming reinforced by our love of watching old 40s films on TV. Kiks often wore her hair in plaints in a crown on her head which further emphasises this Hollywoodness in my recollections. Other times with the Michon cousins Krysia and Zosia we would all play a game called Valhalla, when draped in thin pink nylon bed-coverings we imagined ourselves as Nordic princesses.

By the time she was at Uni, Kiks was a real hero cousin to me. It being hippie times, I saw her as a rebel, Joan Baez beautiful, questioning and intelligent, funny and full of life. When after Uni she went off travelling and went to work on a Kibbutz I was totally in awe of her adventurous spirit. But it is her kindness, which endures. Kiks was always interested in what I was doing, always engaged with every one of us cousins and our own quests and career paths, she was always genuinely interested in other people and so incredibly caring. Kiks helped me through the darkest days of my mother’s dying of cancer. Kiks would go as often as she could to visit my mum, would offer practical help such as hoovering and bringing food and then she would support me by talking to me and consoling me. When mum died she gave me an American Indian poem about following a rainbow trail, it was a lovely gesture on her part and it genuinely helped me through my grief and it was poignant to see this same poem reproduced at Kik’s own funeral service.

Even in the darkest days of her own illness, Kiks was again caring and sympathetic when my father died. I remember many fun filled evenings playing games with the Campbells, Zosia and Rosie, Zbys, Sue, Peter and Me, amicably debating some pressing question or other, or playing games such as Who Am I? or Trivial Pursuit. Unlike our own childhood grown-ups and children were no longer segregated, we all played together, the children’s opinions being considered as important as ours, and we grown ups being even sillier than the children.

Kiks was as constant as the Northern Star – the star we could all steer our life by. To be in her company was always to be elevated to a sense of better-ness, to feel loved and important and interesting. And yet she would never see herself in this light, if you gave her a compliment she would dismiss it and say she had many flaws.

Then also I want to remember her great sense of humour, fun and downright cheekiness. One of my last memories of my darling Kiks was after she had abseiled down the side of Queens Medical when she playfully pinched my bum.

Kiks lives on in her wonderfully bright, sparky, independent thinking kind girls Rosie and Zosia – the lights of her life, along with Peter the love of her life. Words seem inadequate not only to encapsulate the entirety and wonder of Kik’s spirit but also to fully express my sympathy for Peter and the girls.

And to complete the circle, despite her illness, Kiks took the time to complete the family history of the Lesiaks and the Michons and a couple of weeks before she died she sent me the completed family history through the post in an inspiring well researched booklet which she had compiled.

I will love her and miss her forever and feel honoured to have known her and to be a part of the family that included her.

Walk on a rainbow trail
Walk on a trail of light
And all about you will be beauty
Through every dark mist there is a way
If you walk on a rainbow trail

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  • the above is by Ola Michon

    Posted by Ola on 21/01/2015 Report abuse
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