Robert Hampson spent more than four decades living in London.
But three years ago, Hampson decided to trade city living for a quiet existence on a Meaford farm where he’d be close enough to Lake Huron to finally own a sailboat — something he’d been dreaming about for years, say friends.
Hampson, 49, and his common-law wife Marion moved into their dream home: a two-storey white farmhouse on quiet stretch along Grey Rd. 18.
And Hampson bought his baby, a 27-foot boat.
Life was good for the couple of more than 15 years.
But their quiet life was shattered Tuesday when police found Hampson dead at the couple’s home.
David Myles Brinton, 44, of no fixed address has been charged with second-degree murder. He made his first court appearance Thursday. Brinton is being held in custody until his next appearance Jan. 25
Marion was vacationing in Mexico when her husband was killed. She found out about his death after a friend she was travelling with read it online, said Hampson’s longtime friend Andrew Thompson.
Hampson’s friends are struggling to come to terms with the death of the man they knew simply as “Hamp.”
Standing six-feet-tall and weighing 230 pounds, Hampson was known as a gentle giant who would never hurt anybody.
“Rob’s always had a big heart and he’s always been there,” Thompson said.
Thompson remembers sailing from Bayfield to Meaford, a four-day trip, with Hampson after he first bought his boat.
“That took a lot of guts to jump in that sailboat and just sail around.”
Hampson, who worked as a handyman, had a reputation in the area as a fearless sailor, often going far out on Georgian Bay during 30-knot winds.
“Everybody would cheer when he came back in,” Thompson said. “It’s not crazy. At least he was living.”
Hampson attended Ryerson public school and Central secondary school in London.
He used to be a regular at Call the Office in the 1990s, said bar manager Tony Lima.
“He stopped in just before he moved out of town. He said he was moving to the country so he stopped by for a couple of beers,” Lima said.
“He was a big personality. He was loud . . . always laughing, always had a smile on his face, always had a beer in his hand.”
A childhood friend, who didn’t want to give his name, said he last saw Hampson on New Year’s Eve.
“The guy had no mean bone in his body,” said the friend of 45 years. “He was well loved.”