By Michele Campion
My husband and soulmate Bobby Campion has passed on to be with our Lord on April 18, 2023. It was sudden and tragic for our family, but he would want us to continue the party of life and bring love and joy to others regardless of our grief.
Robert J Campion Jr. also known as “B.C.,” “Hollywood Bob,” or just Bobby, was born in Queens, New York, in 1958. He was the firstborn to Robert and Patricia Campion but eventually became the big brother to five more siblings Kevin, Donna, Eileen, Chris and Billy. All are alive and well and contributing to life in a big way. His mother Patricia Campion is turning 87 this July and in good health. We are so thankful for our mother, as she has been everyone’s “Rock” in all ways – mind, body and spirit.
Bobby grew up in a big, beautiful colonial house on the Bay in Huntington, Long Island. His father, Robert Campion Sr., was an executive at IBM.
Bobby eventually followed in his father’s footsteps and became V.P. of sales and leasing at Insight Investments here in Orange County, California.
As a boy, Bobby was always drawn to the outdoors. He loved catching salamanders, frogs and snapping turtles. Intrigued by how things worked, he would perform surgeries on his specimens with the help of his sister, “nurse” Donna. The basement at the Bay Ave. house became the laboratory for all things scientific! As he became more mobile, his energy was directed toward the nearest fish hatchery.
Catch and release were his mottoes, and fishing became his most cathartic exercise. Riding his ten-speed bike 10 miles to the nearest fishing hole was always a highlight for Bobby and continued to be one of his favorite pastimes throughout his life.
MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC…Almost everyone knows Bobby for this gift. Never long without a band, his career in Music started around age 17 in the town of Huntington, New York. Younger brother Kevin was the first to form a band and took over the “barn” on their property for rehearsal space. Being an Irish twin, Bobby had to follow suit, and he put together a band of his own, the Old #7 Band. They played all venues in downtown Huntington and many a party on the beach, in someone’s backyard or the nearest tavern.
By age 23, he was ready to break ties with the East Coast and road-tripped his way across the country with his good friend Brian Smith “Smitty.” They made it to Huntington Beach and eventually settled in with a group of guys from Cypress. They have all been his family ever since. Broke and jobless, he happened upon a job with HomeGuard selling solar heating. He became their number one closer, launching his career in sales. It helped to be the frontman for a band, as rejection wasn’t an option. This spirit of determination eventually opened the door into sales for the I.T. and computer industry. The rest is his legacy.
Bobby and I met at a party in 1990, and of course, he had a blues band called The Blues Disciples at that time. It was an instant soul connection when we met, and we have been together for 33 years. We married in 1991 and have two wonderful sons, Connor and Patrick. The apples don’t fall far from the tree, and our boys are full of empathy and conviction, a trait their dad passed on to them. Bobby was never happier than when he was with his boys, and fatherhood was his most cherished role.
Bobby is best known for the band “The Kooks,” which formed in Laguna Beach 25 years ago, and some of those same bandmates are in his newest endeavor with the Skeleton Crew, a Grateful Dead Tribute band. The Kooks played for many School Power events here in Laguna Beach, along with local gigs at the Marine Room, the Sandpiper, Mozambique, The Skyloft and most recently, The Cliff. His bands have also played for many years at the Sawdust Festival and various fundraisers at the pageant fairgrounds. The Coach House and OC Tavern were staples on their calendar. Recently booked in San Diego, his newest band Skeleton Crew was well on their way to expanding their reach, playing coveted spots like the Aquarius, The Holding Company, and soon Winston’s down in Ocean Beach. Private parties were his favorite, and many locals were privately entertained at either a birthday party, graduation or just a good ol’ house party. Santi Perini was the lead guitarist in all three of his bands. Dave Pinkerton was the drummer, and Phil Morgan was the bass guitarist. They all were an extension of our family and a big part of Bobby’s life.
Rob Smith was a major music contributor to the F-Jams band and became Bobby’s little brother from another mother. This band played for 10 years down in Cabo San Lucas for an organization called Stars and Stripes. This event has raised over 50 million dollars for various children’s charities, and Bobby considered this one of his most shining moments. Giving back to the world and others was the spirit in which he lived.
He was a light that burned brightly, and that love and light affected everyone he met. I have been so blessed to have been brought into Bobby’s life. He was God’s answer to my prayers, and I am a better person for having shared a life with him.
To my soulmate, I love you forever.
We will celebrate Bobby’s life on Saturday, July 8, at 10:30 a.m. at Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach, CA, 92651. A courtyard reception will follow with music at The Cliff from 6 to 10 p.m. at 577 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.