mi-campbell

Garnet Campbell, on the far right, guided the team that won Saskatchewan's first national men's curling title in 1955.

Former skip W. Garnet Campbell, who guided a family team that won Saskatchewan's first national men's curling title in 1955, has died. He was 84.

Dubbed the "Little General" of the Campbell curling clan of Avonlea, Sask., he died peacefully last Friday, nephew Douglas Campbell said.

Garnet Campbell represented Saskatchewan at 10 national championships and was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 1974.

His career highlight was the Brier victory in Regina, the first for a province that has always taken curling very seriously. Joined by brothers Don at third, Glenn at second and Lloyd at lead, the family rink won 10 straight games to take the title.

"I was eight years old when they won the Brier in Regina in 1955," Douglas Campbell recalled Tuesday. "I was the first one over the boards to hug them all, my grandfather and I."

Garnet Campbell also won four Western Canadian men's masters titles, two mixed provincial championships and a pair of national mixed titles.

His nephew said the family was active in a variety of sports besides curling.

"It was long before the TV and the Internet so team sports were a big, big part of the cultural life," he said. "Baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter, and there's lots of stories of grandpa having great difficulty getting them off the hockey ice and onto the curling sheet.

"They actually had an outdoor curling rink right beside the barn."

He said Campbell remained fit and active until he became ill last year. There was no immediate word on the cause of death.

A celebration of life is planned for April 7 in Avonlea, about 60 kilometres southwest of Regina.