Sheila Elaine Campbell’s life is a captivating tapestry of resilience, love, and fulfillment. Born on a warm June day in 1936 in the vibrant country of Jamaica, she entered the world as one of four siblings. Growing up, Jamaica held countless fond memories for Sheila and her mixed Chinese heritage family. It was during Christmas time that Sheila’s heart overflowed with joy. She vividly recalled the early mornings at the bustling Christmas market, where families would come together, sharing laughter, stories, and warm camaraderie. Those precious moments formed the cornerstone of her cherished childhood. Sheila had attended Wolmer’s Girls High School and Durham College in Jamaica, where she polished her secretarial and accounting skills. She secured her first job at 18 with determination and talent, setting the stage for an impressive career.
In 1973, Sheila embarked on a life-altering journey, leaving her homeland to settle in Canada alongside her four beloved children. Although the path of a single parent presented its share of challenges, their decision to move made the transition smoother.
She found employment at Sunoco Energy Inc. as the Coordinator of the Treasury Department. Numbers were her sanctuary, effortlessly navigating financial realms with purpose and joy for 18 fulfilling years. Her early retirement at 55 did not signal the end of her professional endeavours. Embracing the opportunity to explore part-time positions, Sheila soon began a second full-time job with the prestigious Manulife Disability Department. She was the executive assistant and office manager there, supporting the Vice-president for seven years. Surrounded by kind-hearted colleagues who exuded friendliness, helpfulness, and respect, Sheila’s career became an exciting chapter of her life.
Though not one to seek out thrilling adventures, Sheila possessed an innate talent for problem-solving and growth. Through her affiliation with a church, she discovered Shepherd Village, an extraordinary place she knew she would call home upon retirement. When the time came, she relocated to this haven, her first year feeling like a glimpse of heaven. In the embrace of her fellow gray-haired residents, Sheila found solace, never feeling out of place during church services or among her newfound friends.
The warmth of the community extended to her family, who marveled at the genuine friendliness and kindness they encountered during Sheila’s move. However, the idyllic tranquility was broken by a heart-wrenching event. In November 2011, Sheila received a devastating diagnosis: breast cancer. Unexpectedly discovered during a routine mammogram, the news shattered the happiness that had enveloped her until that moment. Yet, with an unwavering support system composed of friends and family, she embarked on the difficult treatment journey, including surgery and recovery. Though the road was filled with challenges, Sheila found strength in love and faith. Showered by the care of her loved ones, she overcame another obstacle.
Sheila’s life was no stranger to obstacles; the most demanding was being a single parent to her four children. Nurturing them alone while navigating a new country posed immense challenges. However, Sheila found solace and resilience through her unwavering faith, discovering the Lord’s guiding presence. Her unyielding determination and spiritual connection propelled her forward during her breast cancer journey and all other trials she encountered.
Sheila has always been involved in her church. From 1976 to 2001, she played many roles at the Willowdale Pentecostal Church, from the women’s ministry’s treasurer to vice president. When asked for advice for those facing similar challenges, Sheila shared the importance of faith in God, cherishing one’s family, and cultivating deep connections with friends. She emphasized the power of helping others within one’s means, always being present when possible. Volunteering at Shepherd Village became a testament to her dedication to these principles.
Reflecting on her life, Sheila mused what she would change if she could turn back time. When asked what advice she would give her twenty-year-old self, she said, “Don’t get married so young.” Sheila was married at twenty-three and divorced after having four children. Raising four children single-handedly, particularly at a young age, had been incredibly demanding. The journey to Canada had tested her resolve with its inherent hardships and lack of spousal support. Yet, she found solace in her unwavering faith, which guided her every step of the way. And her children, a testament to her sacrifices, had achieved remarkable success, thriving in their respective fields.
Today one of the most profound experiences Sheila cherished was assisting other Shepherd Village residents. The gratitude and thankfulness of the residents reinforced Sheila’s belief in the power of helping others, igniting a fire within her to continue making a difference.
Sheila’s extraordinary life unfolded and continues to leave a lasting mark on all she encountered. Her unwavering faith, compassionate spirit, and dedication to helping others shaped a legacy that would resonate through the generations. A true guardian angel in the lives of many, Sheila’s journey is a testament to the power of resilience, love, and selflessness.
God is Real
God loves you.
God wants the best for you.
Believe it, I do.
Be strong, be a protector.
And if you are smart, be a humble influencer.
Do not take advantage of the weak
You have a soul. Be careful with it.
Learn to pray. It is easy.
It is good for your soul.
Nobody is perfect, and we are all imperfect.
There is a powerful force that designs us to be that way.
Grace is a gift. Somebody’s blood paid for it.