The Amelia Remembers John Campion
John Campion at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.
All photos: The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance/Deremer Studios (unless otherwise noted).
My Friend John Campion

I can’t remember exactly when I met John Campion, but it was at his shop on the northside of Jacksonville and at the time I did not know he was into cars. We were discussing some industrial needs he had for filtration of water and oils and that was my business BA (Before Amelia).
Walking out in his shop and scattered among a bunch of industrial equipment was an Italia Roadster and a C4 Ferrari convertible conversion. Business talk stopped then and there and from that moment on it was all about cars. 

As John grew his energy company, APR, he increased his collection of really significant cars, including the world’s best assemblage of Lancia race cars. He was a man who shared everything he had with his friends. Always smiling and always at a high energy level. He and his wife, Suzanne, maintained homes in Jacksonville and Hackensack, NJ.
John shows his award-winning Lancia to students from the University of North Florida's Osprey Racing program in 2015. Photo by Chris Brewer.
Two years ago I was in New York City to give a talk to the Chowder Club. My wife Jane and I arrived a day early to take in the sights. I fell in Rockefeller Center and broke my hip….right on 5th Avenue opposite Sachs. The fall landed me in the NYU Orthopedic Hospital for a hip replacement. 

On the third day, as I was lying in bed wondering how I was going to get back to Jacksonville my cell phone rang. On the other end was John.

“What in the hell did you do to yourself?” he exclaimed. “How do you plan to get home?” 

I didn’t have an answer. 

“My plane (a Lear 60) is at Teterboro waiting for you. Get over there as soon as you can and we’ll take you home.”  

That was John. Always at the ready for his friends. My friend, Ralph Marano sent a limo to the hospital, I was loaded in the limo, crawled into the plane and with my wife and son, was taken home thanks to his generosity and care. 

John was a great supporter of Irish Motorsports, a self-made (Irish) man who started his business career setting up sound systems for rock groups such as U2. And grew it into the largest company of its kind in the world. Selling it, he worked with GE and formed APR to build diesel and gas turbine power plants all over the world. When Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, it was John who supplied generator sets for the survivors of the storm. He was first on the scene.

Always giving, never taking. That was John. All of us at The Amelia Concours d’Elegance Foundation send Suzanne and his family our prayers and condolences.

Bill Warner, Founder and Chairman of The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
"If you don't let and engage young people, the hobby is going to die. We need the younger generation to appreciate these cars and we want the younger generation to have this memory. And if the memory can be created by sitting in (my) car, hitting the start button and putting their foot to the floor - hitting the gas - the whole hobby will move forward." John Campion.

About The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
  
THE AMELIA will be held March 4-7, 2021 at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and The Golf Club of Amelia Island. For the Amelia’s full events schedule, including Saturday’s Cars & Coffee at the Concours and Sunday’s premier Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, visit www.ameliaconcours.org. The show’s Foundation has donated over $3.5 million to Community Hospice & Palliative Care, Spina Bifida of Jacksonville and other charities on Florida’s First Coast since its inception in 1996.

The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance| 904-636-0027 | E-mail | Website