University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
Lee Campbell, wearing a lavender dress, and Peter Forsythe in a navy blue suit and tie, with a flower decoration pinned to his lapel, are standing in front of a stained glass window, with a bouquet of mixed flowers held between them.
Lee Campbell and Peter Forsythe

Lee Campbell and Peter Forsythe

"We've been married for more than 30 years now, and it’s been quite the adventure"

When Lee Campbell and Peter Forsythe met as undergrads in 1975, they couldn’t have anticipated their impending adventures – which included a move across the continent and living thousands of miles apart for several years. Lee (BScN 1978) worked for a major health insurer for almost 20 years; Peter (BSc 1977) continues to work as deputy chief harbor engineer at the Port of Long Beach.

LEE: Peter and I met at a dance on campus – although we disagree about who initiated first contact. We fell in love slowly, and both graduated from our university programs before marrying. We see things the same way, appreciate the value of hard work and have a sense of adventure. I graduated during a nursing surplus in Toronto and wanted hospital work, so we knew we would have to make big changes. After marrying in North York, we moved to southern California. We didn’t have much; we loaded our clothes and some pots and pans into Pete’s old car and headed southwest. Our introduction to California was seeing the Palm Springs hillside on fire, due to a desert wind, in March 1979. We had jobs with low pay initially, so the only way we could afford to buy a house was if we did something unique. Pete left to work for three years in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. I couldn’t get a visa so stayed behind to work nights. We’ve been married for more than 30 years now and it’s been quite the adventure.

PETER: We married, then left everyone to move 3,000 miles away. When you face challenges like that it brings you closer. Another challenge was when I worked in the Middle East for three years, as it was very difficult living apart. I worked 60-hour weeks on marine construction projects while Lee was in California working nights. We would go three to four months without seeing each other. Phone calls were tricky given our time zones and work schedules. We wrote a lot of heartfelt letters to each other in those years. Saudi Arabia was strict – I was once jailed for a traffic ticket there. After I returned to work in California, we became homeowners after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. We have no plans to move back to Canada, but before every big Olympic hockey game and on July 1st we proudly hoist the Canadian flag in front of our house!

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