We would love to hear any stories you have of Chuck.
Never a more sincere hello, never a bigger smile, never a greater laugh, never a quicker wit, never a prouder father and husband, never a better friend. We will so miss our Chuck. The politics, the parties, the boating adventures, the observations about life and the passion for our country and its leadership. It’s our lives which have been enriched by sharing a little piece of his courage and determination. Our hearts go out to the whole Campion family but comforted by the knowledge that you will carry his memory and legacy to generations ahead. Peace dear friend.
So sorry for the Campion family's loss. I was blessed to have been working about 10 feet away from Chuck one early 1990’s day when he cut a large business deal, gave advice to a well-known politician that was wisely taken, talked a reporter through a news story that was published the next day almost word for word as Chuck had persuaded the reporter on the phone, and bought a new Lexus I believe—all in the span of like 6 hours. Of course the only thing I helped with was driving Chuck to Danvers to pick up the car! Such a remarkable and talented person. Our time together was brief yet the memories are powerful, funny, lasting.
For me Chuck and my Boston experience are one in the same. I cannot imagine this City without him in it and I cannot see myself in this City without his friendship and guidance. When I first came to Boston I sought the advice of a counselor who could guide me thru the maze of Boston and Massachusetts politics. When I was introduced to Chuck I quickly found myself, the future client, being interviewed. As you would expect. To my good fortune I passed the interview and was given the gift of his counsel and friendship for so many years. In the darkest days it was always the sly smile, sparkle in the eye, and calm encouragement that saw us through. His honest integrity, tough love, commitment to his family and friends, and just down right sticktoitiveness will stay with me forever. I will sorely miss his friendship and his soft chuckle.
My heart is broken for Chuck’s Family!!! He was an amazing political mind I met in 1988! I was an intern working at the Massachusetts State House. He was so kind to me and I was a confused kid. Chuck didn’t seem to care and never hesitated to give me good advice over the years! In fact when I was looking to relocate to Massachusetts from Washington he advised me to settle in his hometown West Roxbury as he said, “The best place on Earth!” I have to agree my friend! I settled in the Best Place on Earth thanks to his advice! Rest In Peace! You will be missed tremendously! Sending warm thoughts and prayers to your family!
Michael, Evan, and Meri join me in the memories. Our memories involve family. Always family - whether our immediate families whose lives intertwined from Apple Orchard through Brookline baseball and eventually Beaver. Or the memories of all those of us who have taken this crazy path with the same passion to better the world. Chuck was the epicenter of it all. There must be something in the Boston water but just as Chuck started his career campaigning for his grandfather for state rep, I was campaigning for Mike in Brookline. Our lives have been intertwined by the shared values that guide us all and Chuck will be the beacon that helps us stay the course through the rocky waters we presently find ourselves in. May the blessings of his love comfort you at this time and always. With love, Deb
My heart aches to hear about the passing of Chuck. From all my interactions with him I learned so much that I still remember today.
Here's what I remember and learned from Chuck:
1. We had dinner for Max's birthday at a Dinner Club in Downtown Boston back in the Beaver days. Chuck asked each one of us to give a toast. This being the first time I ever gave a toast I was nervous even though I was surrounded by family. I heard Chuck give a toast with such ease and I still remember it today. In my head I'm thinking how does he do it? Our entire group of friends looked up to him and we still do. He was role model for how to interact with a group of people.
2. We are at dinner at a steakhouse in Boston. We are discussing education and I'm complaining about all the required courses we have to take that I don’t like. Chuck opened my eyes that dinner. He told me if you don’t take these classes how will you know what you are interested in. A basic concept to understand now but as a teenager with limited life experiences that small comment stuck to me. It changed the way I looked at high school, college, and it inspired me to learn as much as I can about everything. There’s a lesson in everything even if it’s not something you’re interested in.
3. Chuck and I driving up to the Cape in his Audi to meet up with Max and the gang for the weekend. It was my first time to see Falmouth. I was so excited. We talked about his work, Max, and I told him about my family. We had a great conversation. I remember one specific thing about Chuck: he was an expert multi-tasker. I still remember him driving, talking to me, and answering non-stop phone calls on his blackberry all at the same time. The man could do it all.
4. We get to the Cape and we’re looking at the beautiful MG. Chuck is talking to me about it and he looks at me and asks me if I wanted to drive. I asked him if he was crazy. I didn’t even have my driver’s license. He pushed me to drive it around and I will never forget doing circles in the MG with Chuck. He pushed me out of my comfort zone and it was a blast. I was having one of the best weekends ever. An hour later we are on the Regulator together. My first time on a boat of this kind. We’re blasting classic rock the sun is shining and we’re all in heaven. Chuck looks at me and tells me to take the wheel. The first time I drove a boat was with Chuck Campion. I would do anything to relive that moment one more time cause even at 26 years old I still remember that feeling thanks to Chuck.
5. Our group of friends learned how to properly greet someone from Chuck. It was a lesson we repeated constantly with each other. Three components: a big smile, a firm handshake, and a loud “How ah ya!” We loved it to the point we all still use it today. It was a confident man’s handshake. It was Chuck Campion’s handshake.
6. I saw Max during my last visit to Boston not long ago. Chuck’s legacy lives on through Max. Max is a great conversationalist and since I’ve known him since 7th grade he’s become more and more like Chuck. When I see Max, I see the positive influence that Chuck had on him.
These moments I will remember for life. I learned a lot from Chuck and I am blessed to have known him and the Campion Family.
Missing old pal Chuck Campion, a force of nature in life and politics who always lit up a room, wherever he was. We hung out as dorm mates at UMass in Thatcher, one of the school's last all-male dorms with more than a whiff of Animal House ambiance. We later shared endless hours on campaign planes, buses, debates, speeches, airport tarmacs, hotel bars and filing centers when I was a political reporter and he was a top adviser to nearly every major Democratic presidential candidate since Mondale.
I remember visiting him at the White House shortly after college when he was working for Vice President Mondale. He whisked me into assorted back rooms and private corridors where I was sure we weren't supposed to be. We wound up on the South Portico, surveying the White House grounds. I kept worrying the Secret Service would grab us, which Chuck found hilarious.
That was Chuck. He made everything in life an adventure. And he was on a first-name basis with every Secret Service agent, anyway.
He had the special Irish gift for spinning a good story. There was the night he drove Paul Newman across snowy New Hampshire after a long day of campaigning for Mondale during the 1984 primary as Newman knocked back can after can of Budweiser.
He was kind, whip smart, unfailingly generous and by far the funniest person I've ever known. And tough, too, especially when he was delivering bad news or unwelcome advice to a senator or a White House wannabe.
He battled major health issues for decades with courage and grace. I never heard him complain, ever.
There was no better company on the campaign trail -- and no one with a shrewder understanding of national politics. He knew everyone who counted in politics, too. Congressman Joe Kennedy aptly calls him a godfather of Democratic politics in Massachusetts. He was that and so much more. RIP, Chuck.
"Life is about not going crazy." Chuck told me this on a day we were dealing w/a tough client issue and I've had it written on a post-it taped to my wall ever since. I am so lucky to have been able to learn from his wise, generous, gracious and funny ways. He was a special man. And will be forever missed.
Multiple July 4ths celebrated at the Campion’s in Falmouth, fireworks sparklers, desserts, including red white and blue jello mold, the laughter, the family and friends and the incredible warmth and welcome extended to family of friends
As I thought about Chuck these last few days, I was reminded of something that Teddy Roosevelt wrote:
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
Chuck certainly dared mighty things and for that especially he will be missed.
He'd always finish a phone conversation with the words "I love you."
Not just for me I'm sure, but for virtually everyone.
I used to love that and marvel at it. I'd make sure my six children knew that. Even a couple of my grandchildren, just old enough to understand.
I knew him for twenty five years or so, but if I'd know him sooner, I'm sure I would've never lost an election.
He was a political genius. Even in the fall of 2016, when I was working in the campaign in North Carolina and he was in the Midwest, I called him and asked "Where's the Trump ground game? We can't find it down here."
Chuck's reply: "Something's going on, and it's not good."
We were both in the consulting business. We didn't see enough of each other because he was in Boston most of the time and I was in DC.
But when we won the House back in 06, Chuck was the first to call me. "I have your new business plan," he said.
"What is it"? I asked.
"It's very simple, just three words" he said.
I asked him to please tell me.
"Answer the phone" he said.
I love you Chuck
Met Chuck only once and he left such a distinct impression. I came in straight out of college in Winter 2015 for a quick conversation at DSG. I found myself having an incredible conversation about 1) how he's been in politics since he was little 2) how field organizing paid off, look at the maps (he showed me maps) 3) we discussed Michigan in great detail. Here's the thing - he showed such a passion for progressive causes and people, and it was so inspiring to meet someone who led such a rich life. I wish his family well, and heard a great deal about his children and their professional passions like tech.
During the 1980’s Chuck was helping to run Walter Mondale’s campaign for President. The NH Presidential Primary was important to the campaign.. chuck arranged a campaign rally at the Alpine Club in west Manchester. The club was at that time essentially a place for hard working blue collar Democratic leaning folks to socialize.
I served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event which featured the actor Paul Newman. Mondale and Newman were well received.
Chuck really knew how to get the crowd going. And it turned out to be a great event.
Heather, upon opening the Globe this morning I was saddened to read of Chucks death . Please accept my condolence on the passing of a guy gone
far to soon and to young.. It has been many year since He and I worked together at the Carter Mondale White House , He and I shared something else in common, beyond Washington politics that would be "ward twenty" politics . Americas true political capitol, West Roxbury.. The obits said He started as an eight year old (or nine)campaigning for His grandfather Representative Edmund J Donlan' my first foray into politics was on behalf of the same Edmund Donlan holding a sign at the Shaw Middle school in ward 20 as a somewhat senior citizen of fifteen years .Chuck for His Grampa and the vital issues of that day. Mine more pragmatic donuts . The ward in those days was represented by three,( yes three) members of the "great and General Court of Massachusetts our primaries consisted six to sixteen candidates all Democrats for those seats most plying the precinct workers with coffee and donuts .Hand me a jelly and I am your man ( actually boy) . He leaves this world to soon
Rest in Peace Charles Michael .
Random Memories of Chuckie Campion
My memory of Chuckie goes way back to when we were best friends as 8 or 9 year-olds in elementary school. His family lived with his grandparents’ whose back yard backed up to our back yard; and we went to school together at the nearby Randall G Morris School (which no longer exists).
We climbed the big old “monkey tree” the cut-leaved beech tree in his front yard. He was very proud of that tree. I think he said it was the biggest one in Boston or something like that. Sorry that I can’t remember. I was a little afraid to climb but Chuckie talked me into it and I loved it, though I didn’t climb as high as he did. I believe he later fell out of that tree and broke his arm.
We had sleep-overs at each other’s houses, both there in the neighborhood and on Cape Cod. One of my favorite birthdays ever was when Chuckie and our other best friends Paul Ayoub and Peter Swanson joined me at The Backlash, a family cabin on North Beach in Chatham. We slept out in the dunes, did some birdwatching, searched for sand dollars, and went for a ride in the boat. I have an old black-and-white photograph of the group of us, smiling and scruffy, Chuckie beaming, despite the cast on his broken arm. Another time, when I stayed with him in West Dennis we went go-cart riding and stopped at A&W for a root beer float. Fun! And I think that was the only time I have ever ridden a go-cart!
For years, Chuckie and I were members of the Bird Club at the Children’s Museum that was near Jamaica Pond back in those days. Once Miss Miriam Dickey, the bird club teacher, said with a warm chuckle, that someday Chuckie would be involved in politics. I don’t know how she knew.
Chuckie recruited me to help him knock on doors, to gather signatures for his grandfather’s political nomination. Being shy, I am sure the only reason I had the nerve to do this was because it was with Chucky, and I knew that he would be doing all the talking. I could not understand when some people refused to sign the nomination for Mr Donlan. He was such a nice man, why wouldn’t they want him to run for office?
At one of our bird walk destinations at Sargent Estate, there was a tree that was half hollowed out at its base. Chuckie would often crawl into that space and call it his space rocket tree.
Chuckie was a real organizer and for that reason he was the “Chairman of Special Affairs” of the Stratford St Nature Museum in my basement. I was the Curator, and Paul was the Treasurer and Editor.
Even back then, Chuckie was always positive, funny, and a good friend who always made me feel good to be around.
One day we “golfed” in his backyard and by mistake I stood too close behind him. Both of us were unaware of the danger, and when he swung the club he clobbered me in the chin at the end of the swing, giving me a cut that bled profusely and required two stitches. The shocked and scared look on his face when he saw me bleeding (and maybe crying I can’t remember) made me think he might have been thinking something like “Oh No, What have I done?” He apologized over and over and I think he agonized over it for a long time feeling guilty about it when it wasn’t his fault. He didn’t blame me for standing too close.
I remember another time in his backyard when were both around 14. I hadn’t seen him in a while because his family had moved. He told me he had kidney problems and would probably be dead in a couple of years. I was shocked and saddened and didn’t know what to say. I can’t remember what I said. Thankfully, as we all know, Leigh came to his rescue several years later donating her kidney to him. And then another and another from other donors over the years. I am so thankful that Chuck fought hard and stayed positive through his many health ordeals. I wish I had been more in touch with him over these adult years to support him in whatever way I could.
In August 2004, after many years of our paths not crossing, I got in touch with Chuck again. Shortly after I arrived at their home in Falmouth, in-between business phone calls, and knowing that I was still passionate about birds, Chuck asked me if there were any birds around that I wanted to see. I told him about a red-footed falcon that had been spotted at the Katama airport in Martha’s Vineyard. So he said, “Let’s go see it!” We jumped into his boat, he zoomed us over there. We borrowed his cousin’s(?) car and we drove over to see the bird. What a thrill; it was the first time this species had been documented in the western hemisphere! I am very thankful for that gift and for his willingness, no, eagerness, to drop everything and share this experience with me.
Chuckie, my old great friend, I miss you, but I look forward to spending time with you again in heaven in the future.
Chuck was always happy to see people he knew were in the profession of politics. The campaign workers, the advance people. He once saw a new suit I was wearing and he asked me if it was my "DOV". He went on to tell me that when he was in advance in his younger years, his best suit was reserved for the "day of visit" when the candidate was with him for campaign events. Every time I saw him after that and I was wearing a suit, I'd point to it and say "DOV". He'd always smile, and give me a compliment or a wry zinger. He was a fantastic human being and I will miss him.
As a father of sons, I will never forget how many times we talked about Max. His son was the greatest joy to him. If it wasn't his talents as a golfer it was his entrepreneurial efforts.
Chuck and I were not close friends, I never had dinner with him or went to a Celtics game. But, when he was at an event, in a crowded room, I would automatically make my way over to him to say hello because nothing raised spirits more than his happiness to be with you.
Rose McManus Coleman
I first met Chuck over 25 years ago when I worked for Jim Johnson at Fannie Mae and at that moment, knew Chuck would be a colleague, mentor, and friend. No one put people at ease like Chuck, while still conveying that he had the highest expectations of you. Chuck would not allow anyone to sit on the sidelines. A wonderful leader in so many ways, he challenged us all to put people first, understanding their needs and aspirations, learning how each person defined community and his or her role through conversation and connection. One of my favorite memories of Chuck was the time we spent in Minneapolis and St. Paul--eating more oatmeal in more diners than I ever could imagine--learning about community challenges and the hopes people had for their neighborhoods. Many years later, no matter where my career had taken me, Chuck was always available for a conversation, peppered with a laughter and great counsel.
I will forever be grateful for Chuck's insight, wisdom, and guidance. Most of all, I will miss the joy with which he approached life and the warmth of friendship he shared with so many.
The best in politics go beyond just “promoting my guy” to getting the job done. So, when the Blizzard of ‘78 hit, Chuck was helping Mike Dukakis with the battered coastal communities and I was doing the same for my boss Gerry Studds. At midnight I was on the phone with Chuck trying to give Gerry and Michael a firsthand look at the damage on the South Shore. Instead of fooling around with who’s going to look best and how, Chuck said Michael needed to be managing the relief agencies in the early going but Kitty and her Dad would come down in the morning and join Gerry on a truck that could maneuver through the flooded streets. No muss no fuss. Just one incident from many of being behind the scenes getting it done. And with good humor.
To the entire Campion family -my condolences on the loss of a wonderful guy.
My story hinges on relocation to Mansfied MA from Virginia. Who knew that several years later Great Woods wouls be built and that this would become the venue for Jimmy Buffet's annual party. Our house became the pre and post party spot for my brother and his entire crazy gang which naturally included Chuckie. (Thank God, Heather was available as a responsible adult).
The whir of the blender never downed out the music and singing, and the gallons of tequila consumed never resulted in any arrests, (though there was that one time when about 14 of us were almost taken to the clink but instead were allowed to just leave Great Woods a tad early. Yeah, we were thrown out.
During the lare night festivities, good neighbors were nice enough to come over and ask that we keep it down, then invited to stay.
The police visits also requested we knock it off, but we did not invite them in. Thankfully they did not see the naked men running around the pool - ( though Chuckie was an encourager, he was not a participant). Oh! Don't forget those CHEESEBURGERS ( as in Paradise)
But the event that stands out most clearly is after a Beach Boys concert (which my wife and I did not attend), the entire crew finished off their evening serenading under our window.
"Ba- Ba- Ba- Barbara Ann!.... Ba-Ba-Ba Barbara Ann. Barbara Ann... Take my hand" My wife Barbara said "It's almost mid-night - Ignore them and maybe they will leave.
Their persistence instead resulted in them being welcomed in for a nightcap and a bite.
They all sure knew how to have fun! Chuckie was always up for those good times.
Unfortunately, I will be out of the country till mid March but I hope this brings a smile of remembrance to all those who participated.
Paige Calvert Ennis
My condolences to the family and everyone who called Chuck friend. We met in the 84 campaign and again when I worked at the Boston Garden. His spirit, energy warmth and kindness were boundless. Rest In Peace Chuck.
I met Chuck when I was a kid, a neighborhood activist who got the political bug and was clueless. I wasn't sure who he was, but I knew he was somebody. Somebody who every one seemed to like and a man who's words and wisdom were sought after. He was kind to me then, a kid who could do nothing for him, a wet-behind-the-ears guy from Western Mass, far from the Hub of the Universe.
He always, over all the years, took my call, made his way to me in any crowd or political event, and always inquired by name about mutual friends my side of 495. When I felt out of place or my element, and Chuck was there, any anxiety melted away. The smile, the laugh, the warmth. The encouragement and infectious feeling of sincere friendship.
Years after I first met him, after a tough political campaign loss on an effort I gave my all, Chuck called me. Chuck Campion called me. It wasn't the usual,you win some, you lose some, get back up, keep punching pal advice. It was a sincere and personal, from the heart, uplifting commiseration to say hey; I've been there, I know what your feeling. Don't quit. Don't stop fighting. Stay in the game. And I did.
I saw him once, by chance, at the JFK Library. He was alone, in the large glass room that looks out over the ocean. He smiled at me and said, "Just listen Tony. Just look. It's all you need. Don't need anything else."
When my lesser angels get the better of me in this tough profession, I often think of Chuck, and dial myself back a bit. Thanks Chuck. I wish his family and so many friends wonderful memories forever.
The last time I saw Chuckie was at my parents's former house in South Yarmouth back in 2009. I recall telling him jokes and making him laugh. His boisterous laughter lifted my spirits.
I met Chuck and Heather when I worked for Suzanne and Ray minding Duncan Margaret and Callan. I spent the 4 th July in the cape with you all and when I came back on a holiday with my family he was so kind to open his door again on the 4th july to us all. We have wonderful memories of that evening with you all.it is with deep sadness Suzanne has told me of you passing. The whole Fitzpatrick family are thinking of you all at this very sad time. Rip Chuckie x
To Heather and family,
In early 1980, I was able to attend a training seminar for potential advance team members for the Carter-Mondale campaign. During the course of the day, Chuck came bye to observe the training. He knew me from Boston and my days doing some advance in state campaigns. He came over and asked me if I was interested in doing advance for Vice President Mondale. What followed was doing hotel advance during the 1980, 1983-1984, and 1987-1988 presidential campaigns. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Chuck was a good man and I am pleased that I had the chance to know him.
We were visiting Chucks sister Suzanne in July 2003 from Ireland and Chuck invited us to his home for the 4th July celebrations. Beautiful memories I will cherish forever. His kindness and hospitality was the highlight of our trip. We will always remember that date. Thinking of you all and praying for you Chuck RIP. X
I am so sad to hear of Chuck's passing. Our paths crossed during Duke 1 and during the Carter administration and a few times since, and he was one of the most delightful, genuine and magnetic people I've known. He and Paul McGinn and Jeff Chesky were the Three Musketeers of Governor Dukakis' advance team and Chuck always had great tales to tell. He called me "chief" and I called him "Charles," and I have to admit I was astonished when I found out that he had become a close aid to Vice President Mondale. He loved the game, and his instincts, mind, heart and soul exemplified the role good politics should play in producing good governance.
What a day it was. The 4th of July 2003 at chucks place. We still talk about it. May he Rest In Peace.
Peter Lynch introduced me to Chuck and asked him to help us with Vice President Mondale's trip to Boston. I recognized talent when I saw it and immediately began to scheme to bring him into the permanent Mondale family. This happened pretty quickly as his sunny presence and well honed political skills were so very desirable. I loved his laugh and his ready sense of humor so I called him Chuckles. One day he came into my office and sat down in all seriousness. I was surprised. He asked that I not call him Chuckles in public as he was attempting to be taken more seriously and "that name is just too cute and something like that sticks". I agreed to his request but I must say that Chuckles suited him.
Dear Heather & Family,
Courtney and I send our deepest heartfelt sympathy; chuck was a friend, a colleague and a mentor and I will forever be grateful for his caring friendship. It was a cold damp evening, working for Fritz, in Manchester New Hampshire that Courtney and I met Chuck in the Wayfair Bar as he was holding court with Roland Evans and David Broder. Even at the young age of 28 Chuck was a wise politico, he was one of a kind always a kind word, a smile and a caring way that will be missed.
rest in peace old friend and may God bless the family.
Scott & Courtney Pastrick
Chuck was an incredible mentor to me. But the story that i’ll Treasure the most came toward the end of the several weeks he camped out in my office in NH during the 2008 presidential primary. After Hillary Clinton finished third in the Iowa caucuses, Chuck devised the idea to have her do a tour around the state talking to small crowds, answering all questions. “We gotta buy out the places, Buddy” he said. Then, on the fateful day Hillary “cried” in Portsmouth, he spent three hours in the press room watching three TVs monitoring all the coverage. And during those three hours the senior staff all thought this was going to be a moment that killed the campaign. Suddenly, Chuck comes back into my office and says to me, big smile on his face, “Buddy, this is gonna be good for us”. And of course he was right—it was a turning point in NH and Hillary came back from behind and won the primary. From that day forward, Chuck always said “it was my idea to have her cry.”
He counseled me to try my lot across the country in San Francisco, hired me when i came back, and pushed me out of the nest again to go work for Joe Kennedy.
He had a huge impact on my life and I’m so sad that I won’t have more time with him. But I’m a better person for having known him.
In November 1997 I arrived in Boston from London and began a 20 year professional and personal transatlantic relationship with Dewey Square. I remember sitting down with a large cup of coffee on that first trip while Chuck explained to me in some detail ' how things work here'. It was a privilege to have spent time with Chuck so many times in the years since. Particularly in the frozen wastes of New Hampshire. On each campaign once he knew I had arrived from the UK he would always greet me with that warm infectious smile of his make sure I had a coffee while he explained to me in some detail what was going on and what I needed to do. A bright light has gone out in the world with his passing. I shall miss him.
I only worked with him during the first Dukakis Administration, but even just out of college he was a larger-than-life personality, with great innate knowledge of the Commonwealth and passion for politics. We're all better off because of his tireless efforts for progress. My extreme sorrow for your loss.
Chuck was a wonderful friend and councilor to me from the first time I met him in 1988 at Chauncey Street. He had an amazing ability to get to know the true me and tailor his advice and his humor to me. He did that with all of his friends, so that we all felt like we were among his closest friends. I bet he has thousands of “best” friends. We miss you chuck. Love, Tom OB
Dear Heather, Max and Courtney,
Heard about Chuck's passing from out mutual friend Keith McGrath. He wasn't a guy I knew all that well, but our paths crossed from time to time, as did my interactions with Max, at Keith's old workout space on Comm Ave. (And of course, heard lots of stories about him from your great family friend, and my former partner, John Fowler.)
Was struck, every time, by his genuine interest in hearing about how I was doing, and walked away...every time...thinking I had just chatted with a best friend. He was a man of amazing and impeccable grace, and I can't tell you how keenly I felt his passing, even though I hadn't seen him for years.
I live in Paris now, so will not be there for the celebration of Chuck's incredible life. Will be thinking of him though, and of you all. (Please also accept an invitation to visit here anytime you like. Would love to see you in this most beautiful city, and to reconnect over fabulous memories.)
My sincerest regards,
Chuck's magic lay in his ability to say so much with so few words, each perfectly chosen. Though I knew of Chuck through my work as a reporter, I did not meet him in person until I became his employee. I was a brand-new principal in the Sacramento office of DSG, a rescue journalist taken in by Karen Skelton after the collapse of my chosen profession.
"Hi Buddy," Chuck said by way of welcome.
He imparted with those two words much more than a greeting. Chuck did not know me, but I was classified as a friend, not as a stranger whose trustworthiness was to to be proven. I was in no way Chuck's equal, yet he addressed me as a colleague, not an underling. I had done nothing for Chuck at that point, yet he accepted me without further question.
As I struggled in my first couple of years to bring in clients, Chuck's approach was equally terse, but just as meaningful: "Hey Buddy, how can we help you?"
I heard in that: "You can do this. And I have your back."
When, after a while, I figured it out, Chuck said, "Nice work, Buddy." Chuck was at the top of his game, and he made time for praise.
When I was preparing to undergo surgery following a serious ski accident a few years ago, Chuck tracked me down in pre-op. How he managed to do that that will remain the advance man's secret. "Hey Buddy, you got this." The call lasted three seconds. The memory of that kindness will last forever.
My heart is broken to not be there to honor Chuck in person with all who revered him, but I do have two words: "Thanks, Buddy." I will never forget what you taught me.
I met Chuck during the early days of the '88 Dukakis campaign. He and Nick used to tease me about my long(er) hair and baggy pants. The hair is still sort of long and the pants are clearly no longer in style. Chuck was always smiling, even for the most serious of conversations I found him injecting something in the air that was both down to earth and confident. Over the years seeing him at conventions or other political events he always said hello. He was a true inspiration and a really great guy. All best to his family during these sad days.
Please accept my sincere condolences, Chuck was an engaging and welcoming gentleman. I had the honor to be in his presence at the New England Circle and at numerous other events. He had a warm and engaging personality that brought you into his conversation. His presence will be missed but his enlightenment and political brilliance will remain forever. chuck, rest in peace.
Having worked for Chuck Campion on White House Advance 1978-79, I am forever in his debt for the many lessons, the extraordinary humor, his generosity and inspiration to do things well. I loved the Campion spirit, the Campion Way of working. We are deeply saddened by his passing. Our prayers for his family, partners and legion of friends.
My dearest Campions:
The first tme I met Chuck was at a dinner party he invited us too. We barely knew you but David and I were embraced by both of Heather and Chuck. Max became a huge supporter in more ways than one. I suspect many people wish they spent more time with Chuck; that's the way you want to leave in some respects, everyone wanting more. The laughter and joy, the love for Heather and the kids, and the un apologetic faith in his party and our democracy were infectious. I told Christine once that Chuck was like a walking "pop up" video; he could be anywhere and give you back up commentary. Not gossipy, just matter of factly. And when my foray into politics didn't work as we had hoped, it was Chuck who -- having been around losing candidates more than he wishes -- who wrote me words of kindness. We love you all.
I do so many stupid things because of Chuck: honk and give a thumbs up to confound someone who's just tried to run me off the road. Imitating Chuck's high-pitched sing-song voice imitating Julia Child whisking a sauce even when the food's been ordered in. Say hello to people I don't know so they rack their brains for hours. Talk to the TV.
He swears every time I see him that his late Volkswagen, parked in my driveway to get it off the street when he went off to New Hampshire with Mondale, that I stole his car out from under him. Where is it, Margaret, where did you put it? Of course it was towed to the pound at less cost to Chuck than if he'd had to pay the tickets stuff in the glove compartment.
Chuck stepped out of his lane before he was a father often to tell me how I was spoiling Courtney Carlson. He had a point until I caught him spoiling his own Courtney on the Cape, one of the few times he admitted he was wrong, that he didn't know anything until the happy day his Courtney was born. Did Chuck like golf because he loved Max so much? And the two boating. I wondered if it was as much fun to get the boat ready to go out as to be out on the boat.
Chuck wasn't just smart about politics; he was smart about life. He took time to give advice not just to my Courtney but her husband whom he immediately embraced, no questions asked, because he'd joined the family.
He combined his brilliant gifts in the right proportion: attention to career but more devotion to those he loved and loved him. Years ago, Chuck told me how great it was to have his in-laws--in-laws!-- living next door on the Cape, A few years ago I moved next door to my (spoiled) daughter, the wisest move I've ever made, one I wouldn't have made without wise advice.
"What does Chuck think? was often my guide. I knew he was a brilliant political thinker and a natural pol before David Broder confirmed it by devoting a column to the whiz kid from Boston. After interviewing Maggie Hassan's Senate race, rather than fly out of Manchester, I drove to Boston to have dinner with Chuck and Heather. After three pastas, a loaf of bread and tiramisu, I'd downloaded Chuck and the column wrote. The rest is history, Sen. Hassan.
When we got home, we got in our pj's, cozied up in the bedroom and watched Rachel Maddow. Would it kill you to put on a necklace? he asked the long-necked one on the screen. He's a bundle of media advice; when the red light comes on I always think of Chuck telling me to drop the Mother Superior face for something closer to Sally Field . Would it hurt you to smile when someone else is talking? he asked me.
How many friends can you have a pajama party with after all these years?
It was a singularly lucky day when I met Chuck at the DNC. A lucky day when he married Heather who grandfathered in all his friends.
As was said of another Boston pol, we won't see his like again soon, and with that I reluctantly move to past tense. How poorer my life would have been without him and will be now that he's gone, except when I honk and wave at a stranger, turn on the stove and think of Chuck's Julia Child, see a VW, go to the New Hampshire primaries, look out the window and see Courtney's house, and remember to smile.
I think back to so many small but funny activities. Because my recollection of hanging out with Chuck almost always involved an action or adventure...overloading the MG/td convertible with our kids for the Fourth of July parade,
Rushing to answer the door to see the next tricker treater and scoring their costume...Small boat operation in confused seas...and a million smiles along the way.
We watched Max take his first cuts as a new golfer.. and heard endless tales of Courtney’s early entrepreneurial successes.
So many wonderful shared family times I can’t count...
The warmth of his family and sisters to me and my family’s has been a great gift.
We will miss Chuck greatly