Jef Campion was a man of transition. He was a big man who fit into stature less so. A veteran of life, a 9/11 emergency responder, an artist, a Yonkers Firefighter. A benevolent man who transformed pain among the young and wounded into the will to meet challenges head on. He knew how to reach a child’s, woman’s, or man’s want to survive toward a better day. He was the catalyst who built immediate trust with others. He had a knack; he reached people. That aspect of him was never seen. He could not acknowledge his power of good and kindness for others. He was blind to his influence onto others.
The consummate explorer of life, he did not dwell in a comfort zone that would have satisfied a simpler man. He was a seeker of meaning and truths not easily distilled or defined along life’s path. He was restless to find peace for others, yet was too often dismissive of his own needs. He lived for others in order to distance himself from his own demons that infiltrated his benevolent soul during a month-and-a-half battle against the travesty that befell Ground Zero. Jef Campion is one of those few select “heroes”.
He engaged art in exploring the horror of war in juxtaposition to sentimental assertions of peace. He worked to dispense all he could give. He was the “Pied Piper” who brought a smile to an ailing child. There are few stronger than he who could revive a child’s will to yearn for another day.
The good Lord saw fit to take him at a very young age. Grieving for him with celebration of his life and all be gave back with deep sincerity was the life few can forge. He did it.
He will be remembered when seeing the smile in that innocent child, in the woman who found comfort in his arms when calamity denied her safety, and men who were too confused to take another step. This is the legacy of a man who will live in the hearts and minds of Yonkersites with the same assurance for which he was named 2012 Firefighter of the Year by I.A.F.F. –Local 628.
A wake is to be held at Whalen & Ball Funeral Home, 168 Park Avenue., Yonkers, NY 10703, Tel: 914-965-5488, on Tuesday, January 21, 2014, from 4-8 p.m., Wednesday, January 22, 2014, from 2-4 p.m., and 7-9 p.m. Funeral services will be conducted at Immaculate Conception St. Mary, 103 South Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701, on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 10 a.m.