Irvin Campbell, Alaska knifemaker - Obituary



Irvin Campbell, 86

Seward resident Irvin Ward Campbell, 86, knife-maker extraordinaire,
died March 20, 2006, at home of natural causes, and not from chest
X-rays as he sometimes thought he would.

As he wished, there will be no service. A gathering and burial in Seward
will be announced later.

Mr. Campbell was born Aug. 9, 1919, in Georgetown, Ind., to Forrest and
Francis Campbell. He married Clara Curd on June 23, 1940. He joined the
Army in 1944 and was stationed in Wales and France. After coming home,
Mr. Campbell moved his wife and family to Idaho, where their family grew
to seven children. He was a self-employed masonry contractor, building
homes and commercial buildings. He was a master falconer and flew hawks,
falcons and his golden eagle, Gamma, for 25 years.

In 1966, he and his family migrated to Alaska. He worked as a welder on
the Prudhoe Bay discovery well. In 1969 he moved to the Seward area and
started IRBI knives, which stands for I'd Rather Be Independent. Before
his retirement he made some 13,000 knives, and was named the 1989
Artisan of the Year.

Family wrote: "Throughout his long life, Irvin made many friends from
all over the world. His friends and family were a great comfort to him
and their calls and visits lifted his spirits. His best friends for many
years, Aggie and Dale Evarts, Bill Bulen, Dan Cahill, Fred Steeves,
Andre and Josette and many others, were in his thoughts every day.
Special friends who meant the world to him included Virginia Hawick and
Jean Rappi."

Mr. Campbell is survived by his children, Clara Elge of Seward; Stephen
Wanaka of Meridian, Idaho, Veronica Milette of Boise, Idaho, Walter
Campbell of Caldwell, Idaho, Cynthia Libby of Dillingham, and Virgil
Campbell of Seward; 19 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren; sister,
Mary Lou Hammond of Florida; seven nieces and nephews and many cousins.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Clara; daughter,
Sylvia Hopper; and sister, Evelyn Mayfield.

See other photos of Mr. Campbell at