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Robert M. "Bob" Campbell ’61, one of the most influential leaders in the California commercial real estate industry for more than four decades, passed away on Dec. 15, 2011, in Newport Beach, Calif.
He founded CT Realty Corp., along with U.T. “Tom” Thompson, III, in 1994 and served as president of the company from 1994 to 2009, becoming chairman in 2009. During Bob’s tenure, CT Realty completed more than 200 transactions valued in excess of $2.5 billion. Prior to establishing CT Realty, Bob was general partner of Birtcher Campbell Properties for 20 years. While at Birtcher, he was responsible for the development of commercial real estate projects involving more than 11.5 million square feet of space. He was also a founder and past chairman of the Board of Pacific National Bank in Newport Beach.
Over the years, Bob was the recipient of numerous awards for his business and philanthropic achievements. In 2003, he received the UC Irvine Graduate School of Management’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented to an individual who has exhibited a long period of positive influence over the real estate industry in Orange County, California. In addition, Bob was honored with Ernst and Young’s prestigious “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 2003 in the category of Real Estate Services. He was also presented with a proclamation by the city of Newport Beach that same year in recognition of his service to Orange County business and the general community.
Over the decades, Bob volunteered thousands of hours to nonprofit organizations and community activities. He was an original member of the "Teahouse Gang," a group of prominent commercial real estate professionals who recognized the need to do more for the local community. The group held their first annual charity event in 2001 to benefit KIDWORKS, a Santa Ana-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and nurturing at-risk youth. In 2002, the Teahouse Gang held a benefit that raised roughly $1 million for KIDWORKS. Bob and the other Teahouse Gang members established the Building Block Foundation Fund, which supports programs that encourage at-risk, underprivileged but deserving youth in Orange County to achieve more rewarding lifestyles. Campbell was honored for his leadership with this organization in 2005 by the Orange County United Way, which presented him with the Dan Donahue Award at its annual Keeping Kids on Track luncheon. In 2007, Bob was recognized for turning "real estate success" into "real success for at-risk youth" with the Keys to Success Award. The award is presented each year by Project Access, a nonprofit organization that assists residents of low-income housing apartment communities with achieving self-sufficiency through access to onsite health, education and social services.
Bob was born on Sept. 5, 1940, in Oakland and received his bachelor of science degree in engineering from Santa Clara University. He is also a two-time graduate of UCLA’s Business School with a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in business administration. Both degrees were earned while working as a research analyst for Planning Research Corp. and as an assistant professor at California State University, Los Angeles.
In addition to his business career and dedication to helping others, Bob was a passionate golfer who loved to travel with his wife of 37 years, Jean. Bob was deeply devoted to his Christian beliefs and was a member of Mariners Church/South Coast Community Church in Irvine, Calif., for nearly 30 years. Bob’s commitment was nurtured by his weekly participation in a Christian Men’s Covenant Group which offered guidance, comfort and prayer for members facing personal and professional challenges. He served as an intermediary for many of the group’s challenges, using his extraordinary leadership talent, willingness to listen and quiet, thoughtful manner to resolve even the most difficult situations.
Throughout his career, Bob built strong business relationships that not only made him successful in his career but hugely successful in life. Evidence of this is the many lives he touched, bringing joy, encouragement, and hope. To some, Bob was an entrepreneur, a gifted leader, and an inspirational mentor. To others, he was a talented partner and business associate. Most important, he was a true humanitarian and a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He will truly be missed by all. In addition to Jean, Bob is survived by his daughter Kristen and son-in-law Rob Venick and their two children, James and Katelyn; daughter Kelly and son-in-law Michael McFadden and their three children Campbell, Piper and Makayla, of Denver, Colo.; and his sister Rae Nash of Alamogordo, N.M.