Campbell “Cam” Searle

TOPSHAM – Campbell “Cam” Searle passed away peacefully at his home in Topsham on Jan. 5, 2020, surrounded by his family. Cam was a gentleman, quiet, soft-spoken, reserved and unfailingly polite. He was also an amazing teacher, scholar, engineer and enthusiastic swing dancer.

Born July 24, 1926 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to Sally and Stewart Searle, Cam attended Ravenscourt School, then Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, earning a degree in electrical engineering.

Starting in 1947, Cam attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received his master’s degree. He stayed on at MIT for the next 45 years as a professor of electrical engineering. He taught the basic courses in the department, advised and mentored graduate students, and pursued his research projects. During the 1960s, Cam collaborated with a team to develop the curriculum to teach semiconductor electronics, at the time a new field. His textbook, Principles of Transistor Electronics, co-written with Paul Grey and translated into 10 languages, became the definitive introduction to the subject for generations of students. His professional accomplishments were acknowledged by Queen’s University who awarded him an honorary PhD in 1998.

While at MIT, Cam met the love of his life, Eleanor Whittlesey Reed, who became his wife in 1953. Five children followed, four of whom survive. The family lived in Weston, Mass. during the school year, but spent every summer at “The Farm” in Boothbay.

After he retired from MIT in 1992, Cam kept busy with independent research, swing dancing, and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. In 2002, Cam and Eleanor moved to Topsham, full-time. They loved being near their grandchildren and attended every performance, recital and Grandparent’s Day possible. After Eleanor’s death in 2006, Cam carried on with his interests. For the past 10 years he’s been collaborating with former students on a new theory about how nerve cells work.

Cam was predeceased by Eleanor; his parents; his brother, Stewart Searle Jr., and son Robert.

He is survived by his children, Catherine Searle Renault (Peter) of Topsham, Susan Searle Sato (Takahiro) of Gorham, Sally Searle Kent of Bowdoin, and Campbell Reed Searle of Albuquerque, N.M.; his grandchildren, Eleanor Yoko Sato and Stephen Liam Campbell Kent; and granddog, Winifred.

Arrangements will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations can be made to:

Habitat for Humanity

7 Rivers

124 Main Street

Topsham, ME 04086

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