James Campbell RAPLEY
7th August 1984 - 22 December 2013
James was someone very special in the lives of many people who was tragically taken from us in Los Angeles on Sunday, 22 December 2013 when he was riding a bicycle, in a cycle lane, and was struck by an (alleged) 19 year old drink driver at approximately 9.00 AM, and killed.
He had flown from his home in Chicago a day before his flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne to make sure nothing could delay his return to see family and friends for Christmas. With time on his hands he went for a bicycle ride on one of the established cycle parts in Los Angeles when he was struck. Bicycle riding, as well as many other physical activities were one of his many passions
As a Parent, Partner, and Brother we all think that our loved ones are special, but in James' case this was undoubtedly the case.
James was born on the 7th of August 1984 in the small country town of Pyalong. He was the eldest of 3 children to John and Judy, and he has a sister Julia and a brother David.
Growing up in the small country town of Seymour in central Victoria, James quickly showed his ability for learning and his passion for sport, particularly basketball. He was able to balance an active young life with his school work, basketball and cricket, as well as being active in Cubs and later Scouts.
As he entered high school his enthusiasm for learning grew even stronger and stayed with him until he graduated from the Seymour Technical High School with and ENTER score (now known as ATAR) of 99.45 placing him in the top 120 students in the State from both public and private schools.
With such a tremendous result he was offered, and accepted, a full academic scholarship to Melbourne University to study a Double Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, which he completed with first-class honours receiving Mentions on the Deans Honour List in Science and Engineering, in nearly every year. He graduated with his Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science degrees at the end of 2007
For the first three years of his study he resided at Whitley College and in his third year there was President of the Student Advisory Council.
Whilst at Melbourne University his love of basketball reached a whole new level when he started playing with the Melbourne University Blacks basketball club and eventually this saw him playing in the Big V league. Even after he graduated he continued to play with the club until he left to commence work in the United States.
Whilst studying and playing basketball at a high level he still found time to donate his services to an aide agency, coaching refugees in information technology on Saturday afternoons, as well as taking part in Debating and Public Speaking Competitions, Theatre productions and rowing.
He was recruited by IBM and signed to a contract a year before he graduated before moving on to a position as Senior Software Engineer with Redflex Traffic Systems P/L, one of the foremost speed and safety camera companies in the world, based in South Melbourne.
Here he was team leader for a project which saw the development and introduction of a whole new Generation of speed cameras into the Great Britain market, as well as New Zealand and Hong Kong and the Philippines. He was particularly attracted to this job as it made a significant contribution to improving road safety
Early in 2013 he was approached by Google to see if he would like to be considered for a position in their silicon valley office and after an exhaustive interview process was offered a software engineering position.
But, he turned Google down.
Rather, he accepted a position in Chicago with Groupon. He chose that position because he felt the project was not only more challenging, but had a greater potential to benefit society, something that was always at the forefront of use decision making.
He moved to Chicago in June 2013 and was subsequently joined by his girlfriend of five years, Karen Scott, and had begun to build a successful life there.
He joined a local social basketball league, became even more passionate about his gym training and joined the Chicago Swans Australian Rules Football team.. "James was a new recruit to the side in 2013 and was an enthusiastic contributor both on and off the field".
In his "spare time" he spent many hours developing an app to help the Chicago Red Cross better manage in the vent of a Natural Disaster.
He had a broad knowledge of many issues and all major decisions were always tempered by his desire to achieve a greater social good and he was always willing to inspire and mentor others if he could.
We, his family, and friends are extremely grateful for his life and the time we have been able to share it, but that time has been far too short, cut short by such a senseless and wasteful act.