I always enjoyed reading the obituaries—probably because I wasn’t in them. So, if you’re reading this, it finally happened. It happens to all of us. Like I always said, “if it ain’t chickens, it’s feathers.” After 53 years of marriage, Carolyn no longer has to put up with my shenanigans.
I was born October 2, 1946, in the old Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah to Willa Griffith and Paul Laverne Campbell, Sr. I am the second of four brothers—and clearly the best looking. I spent my growing-up years fishing the Provo River and watching Saturday morning cartoons with my younger brothers. I served as an altar boy at Saint Francis Catholic Church in Provo. I graduated from Judge Memorial High School in 1964 and was immediately drafted into the U.S. Army. I was lucky to end up in Korea instead of Vietnam.
In the spring of ‘68, I met a cute BYU coed named Carolyn Stevens. We were married on March 21, 1969. The luckiest day of my life was the day I talked her into marrying me… Or maybe it was the day Mikki was born… Or maybe the day I bought my first Mac in 1990 (look it up). I’ve been called a lot of things—resourceful, caring, outspoken, silver-tongued, workaholic, fish whisperer—but most of them I can’t print here.
I began my career “in the shop” at Greyhound and worked there 20 years. After an irreversible injury, I returned to school at the age of 45. I graduated from the University of Utah in 1994 with a degree in Parks and Recreation. I was just two math classes away from my master’s degree, but I loved my job. I was a lifelong fisherman and entrepreneur (500-yard golf ball, then The Outdoor Source on Boulder Mountain and Lake Las Vegas). I appreciated a good joke, a great deal, fine fly tying, Orvis rods, smooth jazz, politics, witty t-shirts, sushi, Paul Harvey, black licorice, Clamato juice, 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday morning, and printed newspapers.
This is what I’ve learned: A proper education is worth the money. Save a little bit of every paycheck. If you don't know how to spell it, look it up. The secret to the perfect fly-fishing cast is 10-1. Always look two cars ahead of you when driving. Rotate your tires. The funnies are a great way to begin Sunday. Use sunscreen. If you can’t figure it out, call Chuck. Study hard. Broaden your horizons with experiences. Work hard. Clint Eastwood was right “if you want people to listen, you have to acknowledge the limits of what they want to hear and who they are willing to hear it from.”
I am survived by my wife Carolyn, daughter Mikki (Chuck) Easton, three grandkids Jack, Alec, and Emma Easton, my brothers Paul (Donna), Bill (Marlene), Griff (Carolyn), and many important lifelong friends. You made life worth living. Thank you. I was preceded in death by my parents.
I don’t want a funeral. I never liked them. But I’m certain Mikki will arrange a memorial of some kind. She’s not one to sit quietly—she’ll let you know. I guess that’s what I get for carrying her kindergarten picture in my wallet all these years.
Thank you to family and friends who dropped everything and came running. Special thanks to his nurse Carla, his aide April, Chuck, Dave, Brent, and the Dawson Hollow Ward for your selfless service. This is a debt we will never be able to repay.
In lieu of flowers, the John Campbell Memorial Fund has been set up for his widow. Donations accepted at any Wells Fargo Branch.