Neil Carling Campbell
November 1, 1935 – July 22, 2020
Neil Carling Campbell of Huntington Beach, CA passed away on July 22, 2020 at the age of 84.
Neil was the son of Pearl Carling Campbell and Neil Alfred Campbell. He spent most of his childhood in Teaneck, NJ where, even as a youngster, Neil was always interested in science and especially fascinated by space. So it came as no surprise that he spent his college years at RPI in Troy, NY where he could pursue those interests.
After earning his PhD in Chemical Engineering , he moved to California where he worked for 33 years at McDonnell Douglas, later to become Boeing/McDonnell Douglas. Many of those years were spent as Senior Manager of Advanced Space Technology performing thermodynamics research on USAF re-entry vehicles and heat shields for Jet Propulsion Laboratory space probes that landed on various planets and moons. Neil also performed research for the McDonnell Douglas Phantom Works and worked on the X-33 Single Stage to Orbit Vehicle. Neil travelled all over the United States interviewing college seniors for potential employment as engineers. His enthusiasm about space was catching and the company gained many valuable employees because of it. Neil served as a mentor to some of those engineers for years to come.
Neil loved teaching all ages about the mysteries of space so after he retired he became involved as a volunteer at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, now known as the Discovery Cube Orange County. He designed the Center’s web site in 2001 and then went on to create a number of 3-D presentations including “Search for Life in the Universe” which he introduced to over 13,000 students in Orange County schools. Other presentations which Neil developed were “Mars Rover 2004-05” and “Landing on an Alien World: The Titan Moon of Saturn” which reached over 2,000 adults and students.
Neil also served as chairman of the UCI Science Advisory Board, a consortium of industry, UCI and K-12 teachers whose mission was to improve science/math in Orange County. He was very anxious that young people should learn about the many opportunities opening up in the space field so he was a wonderful ambassador to work with industry and teachers to attain that goal. Neil also served as an ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Neil lived an adventurous life which he channeled into travel to all corners of the earth with the McDonnell Douglas Dive Club. He regaled his friends with stories of being shot at by pirates in the South China Sea and of shark encounters while scuba diving. His talent as a photographer only added to the excitement of these trips. Neil was a winning U.S. Master’s competitive swimmer as well . He served his community in many ways , especially as a host for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles driving athletes and dignitaries between sites including then California governor Ronald Reagan . His neighbors knew him as president of the Beachwalk Homeowners Association for many years.
Neil was a man of many talents and beloved by all who knew him. He leaves a cousin, Ruth Carling Budlong and her husband Barry of Windsor, CT; second cousins Kristen Budlong Eckhardt of Wellesley, MA and Scott Carling Budlong of NYC; and adoring third cousins Elsa and Peter Eckhardt and Avery Budlong. He also leaves very dear friends the Rivers and McGrath families and Jo Wuerer. There will be a graveside service at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at the Westminster Memorial Park, 14801 Beach Blvd., Westminster, CA. A life celebration service will be held at a later date when health conditions permit.
Due to State and Local Mandate regarding COVID-19, only a limited number of people are permitted to attend. Please call for further information.
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Neil Carling Campbell
August 4, 2020
Uncle Neil was a warm, kind person who had a great impact on me. His generosity was remarkable, and his curiosity was something I always looked up to. His child-like enchantment with space and technology lit up the room during family gatherings. He taught me a lot about photography and for that I am very grateful. Thank you for all of the excited emails with links to space news, thank you for sharing photos and photography advice, and thank you for your positivity, Uncle Neil. I am sending extraterrestrial love your way.
July 31, 2020
I am Carol Casement-Comer, daughter of Virginia Carling-Casement and Theodore Casement. We meet my mom's cousin when he moved to California to live with us while he started his new job and found a place to live. He was always so interesting. His job, all his new high tech stuff and fun cars and oh of course his fantastic trips he took all the time. He always shared that with us at Christmas get togethers. Our family had the Campbell's over all the time. We so loved them all. Neil was my 2nd cousin but I felt like he was Uncle Neil and that is what we called. We hadn't seen him in several years but we always talk about the memories at holidays every year. He took videos of us and gave them to us! Some of us will be at the service!