Dr. Neil John Campbell (1925 - 2014)
Neil Campbell

Dr. Campbell died peacefully on August 14th, 2014. Neil is fondly remembered by his family, friends and colleagues all over the world. Neil was born in Los Angeles Calif. of Canadian parents and attended schools in Toronto and St. Mary's, Ontario. During the Second World War he worked on the Manhattan Engineering Project at Hooker Electrochemical Company, Niagara Falls, NY. After the war, he graduated from McMaster University in Honours Physics in 1950 with his BSc and his MSc in 1951.

He received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of British Columbia in 1955 where he did graduate studies in physical oceanography. As an oceanographer, he was employed by the Fisheries Research Board of Canada in Nanaimo, BC, St. Andrews, NB and Halifax, NS where he headed the Board's Arctic and Atlantic Oceanographic programs. While in Halifax, he taught oceanography at Dalhousie University.

His appointment to Ottawa, in 1963, was to fulfil the role of organizing and developing the entry of the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources into the field of marine sciences. Appointed Chief Oceanographer, he directed the organization of what is known as the Marine Environmental Data Service.

Internationally, Neil was named and became head of the Canadian delegation to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO in 1968 and subsequently served the Commission in various capacities including four years as First Vice-Chairman.

During his term as Vice-Chairman he represented the IOC and UNESCO at the Third Law of the Sea Conference. He was assigned the responsibility of organizing the federal government's program for the study of pollution of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario for the International Joint Commission which led to the establishment of the Canada Centre for Inland Waters. In 1976 Dr. Campbell was appointed Director-General of the Marine Sciences and Information Directorate.

He served as a delegate to the international organizational meetings for the preparation of the Convention on Ocean Dumping and subsequently prepared the Canadian legislation in 1975 which allowed Canada to ratify the London Ocean Dumping Convention. From 1963 to 1972 he served as the Canadian Member on the NATO Sub-Committee on Oceanographic Research and was invited to continue to serve with the Scientific Affairs Division of NATO on the Marine Sciences Panel.

Neil served as Vice-President (1983), President (1984) and Past-President (1985) of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS). In 1987 he was nominated as a Lifetime Member of CMOS of CMOS and was awarded the J. P. Tully Medal in Oceanography in 1992. He is also recognized as a Scientist Emeritus in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. After the retirement of Uri Schwarz in 1994, he took over the position of Executive Director of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. As Executive Director of CMOS, Neil will be remembered for having:

  • fostered the Professional Affairs Committee and certification of consultants;
  • negotiated the provision of office space by DFO for housing the CMOS national office;
  • created the position of Publications Director in the nationaloffice;
  • fostered the Private Sector Committee;
  • established the Weathercaster Endorsement Program;
  • created the Tully Medal in Oceanography and the Rube Hornstein Medal in Operational Meteorology;
  • established the Tertia Hughes Memorial Prize and Roger Daley Postdoctoral Publication Award;
  • negotiated for CMOS to host the Canadian National Committees for SCOR and ECOR;
  • written and maintained guidelines for CMOS centres to host the annual congresses;
  • been one of the leaders in establishing the CFCAS Fund in 2000;
  • written the first CMOS strategic plan in 2004

He retired from that position in 2004. Neil was the first recipient of the CMOS Neil J. Campbell Award for Exceptional Volunteer Service . He continued to support and advise the Society as Councillor-at-Large for several years thereafter.

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