Avis Clarke

Avis Clarke

Saturday, March 7th, 1942 - Tuesday, January 21st, 2020
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CLARKE, AVIS (formerly CAMPBELL), Order of Niagara
March 7, 1942 – January 21, 2020

Born in St. D’Acre, St. Ann, Jamaica, Ms. Avis Clarke, O.N. died peacefully with dignity and grace following surgical complications and after a valiant life with systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic lupus nephritis in Burlington, Ontario, Canada on January 21, 2020 with her children, Robert and Heather, at her bedside. Dearly loved mother to Robert Clarke Campbell (Pamela Lynne) of Victoria, British Columbia and Heather Ann Campbell of Calgary, Alberta. Beloved grandmother to Gabrielle Avery and Jamieson David. Avis was predeceased by her former husband Collin Keith Campbell, her parents Isaac Clarke and Agnes (née Harris) Clarke, her stepmother Gertrude Clarke, her brothers Titus Clarke and Kenneth “Webster” Clarke, and her sister the Reverend Esmie Hall. Avis is survived by her children, her sister Inez Bennett of Jamaica, and many nieces and nephews globally.

The youngest of five children, Avis was born in the lush green hills of the parish of St. Ann in Jamaica to a coffee grower. Her natural green thumb, care for human and animal life, and speciality in household economy came from this simple upbringing in an agricultural setting. Having trained in housecraft and household management, Avis moved to Kingston to work in the grand homes of the noble families of Jamaica and lived under the watchful eye of her grandmother, Miss Mary Jane Nash. Avis emigrated to Montréal, Quebec, Canada in October 1963 becoming one of the youngest pioneering women from the Caribbean to open immigration within Canada through the West Indian Domestic Worker Scheme. A lifelong learner and education advocate, Avis completed Canadian high school while working full-time with families needing domestic help in Montréal. In 1969, she fulfilled her own educational dreams and graduated from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital of Montreal School of Nursing and began her formal career in nursing.

Avis married Collin Keith Campbell (1943 – 1999) in May 1967 and gave birth to Robert in 1971 and Heather in 1973. The family relocated from Montréal, Quebec to Burlington, Ontario in 1978 and Avis continued her nursing career at Joseph Brant Hospital where she was regarded and recognized as an exceptionally skilled, caring, and compassionate nurse in orthopaedics and surgery on what was formerly ‘3 East’. Having been diagnosed with lupus in 1986, she lived a full life, faced her illness with strength and courage, meticulously managed her health, and worked continuously until her illness forced her to cease working in 2000 and resulted in her eventual retirement in 2007.

With an exceptional talent for needlework, crafts, sewing, ceramics, knitting, floral arrangement, and crochet, Avis was an adventurous learner of all crafts and a true artist, one year learning how to develop and then make several art pieces of Japanese style bunka embroidery on silk. Plants thrived under her natural green thumb and she could often be found tending her prolific indoor and outdoor gardens. Her volunteer capacity was extraordinary having volunteered for both Robert’s and Heather’s school and extracurricular activities as children, campaigned for schools to be built in their new neighbourhood of Brant Hills, and cooked all styles of meals and food for all kinds of people. Her gifts of time, talent and treasure were shared with the church and faith community, her friends and neighbours, her family, the Caribbean community, those in need and experiencing poverty, new Canadians, personal charitable causes, those who were lonely, and those in medical distress, strife, and crisis. Forthright in her views personal and political, Avis was a keen follower of Canadian and international politics and could reason with anyone about any social issue.

As a formally trained hostess, Avis hosted dinners, luncheons, teas, and parties for the great and good of her community, friends, and family. Her dining table and kitchen table were always a place of loving welcome and tasteful sustenance. If you couldn’t find her at a party, you need only look for her saying grace at the beginning of the meal or later in the evening on the dancefloor. Her characteristic smile, beauty, fashionable style, and sense of humour were unfailing.

A conscious and prayerful Christian, Avis worshipped faithfully at St. John’s Anglican Church and is a member of the Order of Niagara. God’s perpetual light will shine on her as she rests from her labours.

Visitation will be held at Smith’s Funeral Home (1167 Guelph Line, Burlington) on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 from 3-5 p.m. and from 7-9 p.m. The funeral will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, February 7, 2020 at St. John’s Anglican Church (2464 Dundas Street, Burlington) with the Reverend Leslie Gerlofs and the Reverend Dr. Stanley Brooks presiding; there will be a celebration of the Eucharist. Interment of the ashes will occur immediately following the funeral in the parish cemetery. A reception hosted by Avis’ children, Robert and Heather, will be held in the parish hall following the interment.

Robert Campbell and Heather Campbell express their gratitude for the care provided by the staff and medical teams in the Intensive Care Unit and Palliative Care Unit at Joseph Brant Hospital. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Avis Clarke’s name to Lupus Ontario (

~ For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8) ~
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 | 3:00pm - 5:00pm
    Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 3:00pm - 5:00pm
    Smith's Funeral Home - Guelph Line
    1167 Guelph Line
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Second Visitation

    Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm
    Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 7:00pm - 9:00pm
    Smith's Funeral Home - Guelph Line
    1167 Guelph Line
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Friday, February 7th, 2020 | 1:00pm
    Friday, February 7th, 2020 1:00pm
    St. John's Anglican Church
    2464 Dundas Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


Donations are being accepted for: LUPUS ONTARIO.


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Private Condolence

Deborah Daca MacDonald

Posted at 09:54pm
My condolences Heather and Bob. Your Mom and I shared many moments at St. John's. Ater I realized that her demeanor was typical of a nurse of her generation, we were able to better communicate. I also knew that she had a heart of gold. Once she knew that I was gluten intolerant, when I'd show up for a service, she would quietly, efficiently, tuck a gluten free piece of "host" into the chalice; what a sweetheart. Of course, you both were of utmost importance to her. Yes, your Mom will be missed by you and many others. I plan to remember her selfless acts of kindness, and that beautiful smile of hers. Deborah Daca MacDonald (former member of St. John's) p.s. I can still remember the laugh she had when my young son asked her what language people spoke in Jamaica!!!

Earla Jacqueline Smith

Posted at 03:31pm
Of all Avis’ many longtime friends, I am a newbie. I have only known Avis for a little over 8 years. We enjoyed Drury Lane Theatre; shopping at the mall; a few lunches around town. I enjoyed her wit and discussing our crafts - knitting, crocheting. Heather and Bob: I am sorry for your loss.


Posted at 11:21pm
Robert and Heather,
It was sad hearing of the passing of your mother. Over the years It was a pleasure working with her.
Our condolences to both of you.May her soul rest in peace.
Barbara and Clive

Nancy Weller

Posted at 12:24pm
Dear Heather and Bobby,

I am sorry I can’t express my condolences in person as I will be out of the country. Know that you are in my prayers. May you be comforted by the knowledge that she is in a better place.


Jackie Mootoo

Posted at 07:57pm
My dearest Heather,

Our deepest condolences on the passing of Avis. I met twice when she came to Calgary and always enjoyed our quick conversation. As I mentioned in church today; she is resting peacefully in the bosom of our Lord. You are strong and resilient and you proved to be an amazing daughter who was raised as per the glowing tribute in her obituary by an accomplished woman and a good and faithful Christian. Be proud dear friend to have had such a great woman in your life.
Your friends, Jackie, Brian and Santana

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