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Barbara Campbell – Biography

Barbara Van Orden Campbell (1917-1986) was born in the mining town of Houghton, on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the youngest of William C. and Frances Rose Van Orden’s four children.  She studied mining engineering at Houghton’s Michigan Tech (now Michigan Technological University), one of a handful of women in the programme, leaving before graduation to marry E.J. (Edgar) Carrington, a fellow member of the Class of 1937.  Their daughter Susan was born in 1943.

In 1946, her marriage ending, Barbara came to Canada, to the booming northern Québec mining town of Noranda, where she met and in 1948 married Cornelius (“Con”) J. Campbell (1904-1989), a Prince Edward Island lawyer turned northern prospector.  In August 1950, the two were hired by Gold Belt Air Service to run a base at remote Bachelor Lake, Québec, located northeast of Amos, Québec, at 49° 33’ N, 76°07’ W. The base served as a fueling and weather station for company aircraft and provided sleepover accommodation for pilots and passengers.

Intelligent, witty and a true people person, in the early 1960s Barbara wrote a memoir of their first months in Bachelor Lake. During the years there, their daughter Sandra was born in 1951.  Their son, Con Jr., was born shortly after they left the Bachelor Lake wilderness in 1953.  In later life, Barbara had a long career as a smelter laboratory technician at Noranda Mines’ Horne Smelter, retiring in 1982.