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Donald L. Campbell, MAJ, US Army, (Ret.)


Donald L. Campbell, age 70, of Valrico Florida died 14 June 2020 (the Army’s 245th Birthday) following an extended battle with Alzheimer’s.  On 23 June 1949, he was born in Patuxent River, Maryland the son of Broadus Ezell Campbell Jr. and Gladys Josephine Plemmons.  On 24 January 1970 he married Rochelle (Shelley) I. Slonim at the Orlando Parliament House.  Together they shared 50 years of marriage.

Don Campbell is survived by his wife, 3 sons, 2 of his brothers, and 7 grandchildren.  Survivors Include: Shelley Campbell (wife), Sean Campbell (son), Jason Campbell (son), Chad Campbell (son), Mike Campbell (brother), Scott Campbell (brother), Taylor Campbell (granddaughter), Joseph Campbell (grandson), Adam Campbell (grandson), Marcella Campbell (granddaughter),  Scarlett Campbell (granddaughter), Elsalyn Campbell (granddaughter), and Isaac Campbell (grandson).

Don Campbell was a career military soldier, both enlisted and then as an officer, that dedicated 23 years of service to this country in the United States Army.  He spent 16 years in Army Aviation and Special Operations Aviation military assignments.  His proudest affiliation was as a “plank member” of the Task Force 160th (Special Operations Aviation), Night Stalkers (Night Stalkers Don’t Quit!).  Don had many assignment locations that ranged from the southwest U.S. (Texas) to overseas (Germany) to the southeast U.S. (Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida).  Don always excelled in his career with his quick wit and results-oriented approach.  He was the type of soldier that just always knew how to get things done, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  His assignments took him from a fast-tracked NCO after he was drafted to a decorated Commander, Staff Officer, and Aviator. Don continued his service to his military brothers and sisters after his military retirement as a military Support Contractor for both the aviation branch and USSOCOM for over 18 years.  Don’s leadership and commitment to others surpassed the boundaries of the military as he was recognized as a commissioned Kentucky Colonel, the highest title of honor bestowed upon an individual by the Governor of Kentucky, for the undeniably positive impact he made during his time there.   He had a second retirement after 10 years of service with Boeing as their Special Operations Rotor Wing expert.

Don Campbell was a dynamic person that had several hobbies and interests that always helped him smile and bring laughter to any group.  He enjoyed the outdoors, sunshine, and water and had many fond memories of fishing, including his fishing trip to Spain in the early 80s and exploring the Kentucky waterways in the mid to late 80s.  He took his family on many camping adventures that always included his wife, 3 rambunctious and active boys, and his Irish Setter as they explored the southwest and later the Kentucky and Tennessee wilderness.

Don’s fondness for the outdoors was sparked at an early age through his connection with the Boy Scouts of America.  Don thrived within the Scouts and diligently honed his skills by advancing quickly through the Boy Scout ranks.  Don’s commitment and dedication were rewarded when he achieved his goal as an Eagle Scout.  This lifetime achievement, that Don humbly cherished, displayed his foundation as a man of strong character.

Don was always interested in history, especially early American History and Military History.  He was always intrigued by the grit and toughness of our predecessors as they explored a new and unknown country and was particularly interested in the historical events of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  He embodied the perseverance and determination of these historical figures that he studied and added in his own tenaciousness that earned him the reference as “Dangerous Don” from his then college-aged son’s friends.

Don Campbell was referred to by many other names.  D, Donnie, Dad, Granddaddy, HaHa-Daddy, the Commander, Major, and as he always said, “Hey Stupid!”

Don will forever be remembered for his great sense of humor, comedic timing, and extremely sharp intellect.  He always brightened a room, made you laugh, and made everything better.  He will be sorely missed.

Don was laid to rest on 19 June 2020 in a private ceremony (full military honors) with his immediate family in attendance.  His final resting place is the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.

A Celebration of Life is currently being planned for later this year, possibly September, when we will be able to gather and give Don a proper party and celebration.

NSDQ!

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  • Denis Shelley says:

    Don was a great friend and associate during my formative years in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany. We were the best of friends and I’ve always admired him for his sense of humor, wisdom, cleverness, and the impact he had my life. I just recently got reconnected with Shelley and wish I had several years ago. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t somehow see something or hear something that reminds me of the great times Don, Shelley, and I had in Germany. I’ll miss you buddy…very much.

  • Mark & Carol Smith says:

    We enjoyed some great times with Don & Shelley. His wit & humor were the best! He was so knowledgeable about current events and, of course, history. Mark enjoyed lively political discussions with him and appreciated his dedicated service to this country. We know you miss him and that the whole family looked to him for guidance and understanding. Keep all your memories alive through sharing stories and remembrances each time you are together. That is the way you celebrate your love of him. Wishing you peace. Our sincerest sympathy, Mark & Carol

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