James Richard ‘Dick’ Campbell

Oct. 12, 1928 – April 9, 2017


James Richard ‘Dick’ Campbell died April 9, 2017, at the age of 88 with his wife Barbara at his side. He died after a valiant fight against heart disease at Kern Valley Hospital.

He was born to Mark Merrill and Mable Ann Campbell of Illinois on October 12, 1928, in Riverside, Calif. The family history is traced back to 1280. The original line still goes back to 1860.

He joined the Civil Air Patrol, and at night, he sat on a hill in Riverside identifying planes during WWII. He was too young to go to war. He graduated in 1946 from Riverside Polytechnic High School.

Dick married Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Ann Newton, who died in 1980 of cancer.

Dick graduated from Cal Poly with an Aerospace degree, then worked for Marquart in San Fernando Valley for a few years. He moved to Huntington Beach to work for and retire from McDonnell Douglas at the age of 55. At McDonnell Douglas, he worked on a bid for the Sky Lab and he joined a group that each year delivered gifts to children at the Navajo Nation.

He took trips with a Los Angeles Museum to raft the Salt River in Arizona and watch Halley’s Comet in Mexico.

He enjoyed family life with Betty and son Mark. He joined a Power squadron boating, camping, building a custom home, hiking, skiing, deep sea fishing and golfing. He was involved in Indian guides, and he was a Scout Master in the Boy Scouts.

After retiring from McDonnell Douglas, Dick moved to the Kern River Valley to finish his dream home in 1988, a two story Southwestern. He married Barbara Jo Murphy Campbell in 1995. After building the house, he continued going to lunch with friends. He would say, “She married me for better or worse, but not for lunch.”

Dick was interested in making the community better. He started the Squirrel Valley Property Owners Assoc., worked on trying to get the Airport runway extended, and make the golf course into an 18 hole course. He was on the Lake Isabella Bikeway committee, and wanted to see education concerning the five bioregions and the dark skies. He was a docent at the Kern Valley Museum and rendered a picture of the proposed remodel of the museum which help increase the fundraising efforts. He was also a member of the Clan Diggers. He made suggestions to Supervisor Jon McQuiston.

Because of health issues in 2011, he could not continue many of the activities he enjoyed.

He was devastated by the Erskine Fire that destroyed his dream home. If not for the help of their friend, John Hughes, they would not have been able to get out. He commented that the culmination of his whole life was destroyed.

He leaves a loving family behind: wife Barbara, brother Bob and wife Shirley Campbell, son Mark Richard and wife Jennifer, and cousin, niece and nephews: Barbara’s sons Bob and Dave Murphy and families.

A celebration of life will be held on June 3, 2017, at the Eagles, located at 12233 Hwy 178, Mt Mesa, Ca., from 1:00 -3:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kern Valley Museum at 49 Big Blue Road, Kernville, Calif., 93238.