Great grandfather, grandfather, father, uncle, brother, friend, and Whitehall, N.Y., citizen Robert L. Campbell passed away in the manner he had hoped for: "I want to slip out gracefully." At age 88, he did so early in the morning of January 1, 2009 in his new apartment at the Shelburne, Vt., home of his daughter, Anne Campbell Voland, her husband George, and their son, Rob.
Bob was born in 1920 in Watervliet, N.Y., and spent almost all of his life in Whitehall, a town he loved. His growing-up years were rich with the boyhood experiences of life on the Canal and the lake. A 1938 graduate of Whitehall High School – where he was an athlete under the tutelage of Ambrose Gilligan – he joined the National Guard at age 17.
When called to serve his country in WWII, he traversed the country by train five times while training for his roles with the 91st Infantry Division. He served bravely in North Africa and then in Italy, experiencing some of the most devastating battles of the war as Cannon Company fought major battles all the way up the Italian front. During this time, he spent all the seasons of two years on or in the ground at the front of the advancing Allied troops. He was decorated with the Bronze Star and Combat Infantry.
Returning home to Whitehall in 1945, he married Margaret "Peg" Vosburgh in 1946, and went to work as a third-generation Campbell at Campbell’s Roofing and Sheetmetal, where he’d apprenticed as a boy. He took over the company from his father in 1958, and he and his crews continued the family tradition by roofing hundreds of buildings in the North Country, including private homes, institutions, and all of the old Ticonderoga Paper Company buildings.
A life-long member of the Whitehall United Methodist Church, where he served on almost every official body, Bob was also a loyal member of the American Legion, a Past Master of Phoenix Lodge #96 F and AM, a member of the Board of Directors of Troy Savings Bank, a committeeman for the Boy Scouts, and an organizer for the original "Teen Canteen" in Whitehall.
Bob was predeceased by his parents, Jerome E. and Alice M. Campbell, by his wife, Peg, and by his brothers Earl and Walter Campbell and their spouses. He is survived by his sisters, Esther Van Buskirk of Whitehall, and Alice Alsobrooke, of Americas, Ga. Besides his daughter, Anne, and her husband, George Voland, of Shelburne, Vt., and their children, Robert, also of Shelburne, and Caryn Voland and her husband, Prem Vadlamudi, of Silver Spring, Md., Bob is also survived by his son, Jerry Campbell and his wife, Joanne, of Atkins, Ariz., and their children, Jocelyn Johnson and her husband, Tom, of Jonesboro, Ariz., and Romey Campbell, of Rawlins, Wy. His great grandchildren are Kyle and Jared Johnson, of Jonesboro, Ariz.
During Bob’s month long battle with pneumonia, he was encouraged through his rallies and comforted through his declines by the nurses and practical caregivers from the Hospice Division of the Visiting Nurses’ Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle, Vt. Because these compassionate professionals helped Bob ease through what could have been a difficult passing, the family requests that you make contributions in his memory to: VNA, attn. Hospice, 1110 Prim Road, Colchester, VT 05446; or, donate in Bob’s memory to Whitehall United Methodist Church, 56 Greenmount Cemetery Lane, Whitehall, NY, 12887.
A funeral service was conducted on Monday, Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. at the Whitehall United Methodist Church, 56 Greenmount Cemetery Lane, Whitehall, with his nephew, Rev. Garry Campbell, officiating. Interment will be in Clemons Cemetery.
Family and friends were invited to call at the Jillson Funeral Home, Inc., 46 Williams Street, Whitehall, NY on Sunday, Jan. 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. American Legion Post #83 conducted a wake service at 7:45 p.m.