“Our community has had its heart broken”: South Okanagan celebrates life of David Kampe

Community and families members who knew Kampe give tearful addresses

On Sunday afternoon, more than 300 community members in Penticton remembered the life and good deeds of philanthropist and businessman David E. Kampe at a celebration of life.

Those who were touched deeply by how Kampe contributed to the community spoke at the event at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

READ MORE: City mourns passing of philanthropist

His niece Vickie Kampe gave a heartfelt address about her “Uncle Dave.”

“Our community has had its heart broken,” she said, speaking our loss.

“He cared about his employees. I know this because I would hear workers in the community speak of hopes of working for Peter Brothers because it meant a good employer and promised work. He ensured they were cared for and taken care of especially if someone in their family faced a health crisis. He would often make business decisions based on how employees would be affected,” she said.

“He found the secret to happiness. His happiness was finding pleasure in the simple things of life. With luxury at his fingertips, the irony of this dignified man is that he loved fresh Okanagan vegetables and fruit. He loved gardens and flowers. Orchards. My mother’s canned peaches. Reading the newspaper in his chair, watching the news with his brother. He enjoyed going for a drive. He appreciated homemade soup … and the companionship of his dogs.”

Carl Meadows, Acute Health Service administrator with Penticton Regional Hospital, gave a tearful address, remembering all the special moments he shared with Penticton’s philanthropist, who he called “Humpty Dumpty,” as they worked to make the David E. Kampe Tower at Penticton Regional Hospital a reality. He said Interior Health is proud to have the David Kampe name on the tower.

“The first day I met David, we both knew we would be friends. He was mischievous and he was a child at heart,” he said, adding that they would often have long discussions about their shared passion—making the world better for others. He said Kampe contributed to Penticton in three major ways: by caring for others, his philanthropy and his vision for the future.

“David loved Penticton and at times he was frustrated that there were so many people besides him who could do so much more and give more to our community. David fundamentally believed in the community and his legacy touches so many areas: the impact of his bursary program to the Peach Festival to the Snowbirds and of course, the David E. Kampe Tower. He believed that we all need to love this town and his (hope) was that others would come forward and take the torch,” said Meadows.

Following both talks, Kampe’s niece, Anona Kampe, sang a beautiful version of What a Wonderful World as a tribute to her uncle. Penticton MLA Dan Ashton also spoke at the event between speakers, often telling funny stories about Kampe’s life.

READ MORE: David E. Kampe to be honoured with posthumous appointment to Order of British Columbia

Kampe, 77, died on May 8 surrounded by friends and family. He leaves behind a legacy of generosity and is being honoured posthumously with an appointment to the Order of British Columbia. Kampe was a successful businessman as the owner of Peters Bros. Construction and built the team that owns and operates it today.

Kampe gave roughly $8 million to the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion project, which resulted in the new patient care tower being named after him. As a major donor to the Penticton Peach Festival, he helped to keep it one of the largest free family festivals in Canada by sponsoring headlining performers. Kampe also provided money to ensure children attend Vees hockey games for free.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


Robin Grant
Reporter, Penticton Western News
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