Bruce Benedict Campbell Ph.D.

October 8, 1948December 29, 2011

Bruce Benedict Campbell Okemos

Dr. Bruce Benedict Campbell, age 63,passed away unexpectedly on December 29, 2011.Bruce was born October 8, 1948, in Bryn Mawr, PA to Malcolm and Pauline (Benedict) Campbell. He graduated from Brandeis University in 1969, and went on to receive a master of science from the Juilliard School and a doctor of philosophy from Yale University. He was an associate professor of music theory at Michigan State University from 1985 to 2010, and served as organist and music director at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Lansing for 17 years.He was also a composer, whose published works include music for band, orchestra, choir, and many solo instruments. In addition to his work, Bruce had a passion for hiking, travelling and bagpipe playing. He was an active member of the Glen Erin Pipe Band in Lansing, and had recently spent three months living and working in Scotland's Iona Community. He is preceded in death by his father Malcolm. Surviving are his loving wife of 28 years, Sulin; daughters Melody and Fiona; sons Irvin and Andrew; mother Pauline Campbell; brother Scot (Melanie) Campbell and sister Ellen (Michael) Cooper; father-in-law and mother-in-law Suez (Ellin) Chen; brother-in-law and sister-in-law James (Lori) Chen; five nieces and five nephews. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, January 3 at 4:00 p.m. at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 1315 Abbot Road, East Lansing. The family will receive friends 1 hour prior at the church. Those desiring may make contributions to the American Heart Association, Memorials and Tributes Lockbox, 3816 Paysphere Circle, Chicago, IL 60674 in memory of Bruce. On-line condolences may be made at


  • A Service of Witness to the Resurrection Tuesday, January 3, 2012
  • Visitation Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bruce Benedict Campbell Ph.D.

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Carla Childs

March 4, 2016

I just today got news of Bruce's death as I was searching for contact information for Germantown Friends School classmates. I am so very sorry for your loss. I was glad to read in the obituary about his full and interesting life. Of course we all knew his career would be in music, but as teenagers, we had no idea where his passion for music would lead him. I was happy to read of his large and loving family, and I wish you all the best in your lives going forward without him.

January 30, 2012

An honest man here lies at rest
As e'er God with his image blest.
The friend of man, the friend of truth;
The friend of Age, and guide of Youth:
Few hearts like his with virtue warm'd,
Few heads with knowledge so inform'd:
If there's another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.

Robert Burns

Rest in Peace Bruce.


January 30, 2012

I only knew Bruce for the briefest of time. The following is taken from a Rabbie Burns poem, written in 1794. I hope it encompasses many of the things Bruce loved about Scotland ..... nature, music, dancing and the country itself. Rest In Peace Bruce.

Amang the trees, where humming bees,
At buds and flowers were hinging, O,
Auld Caledon drew out her drone,
And to her pipe was singing, O:
'Twas Pibroch, Sang, Strathspeys, and Reels,
She dirl'd them aff fu' clearly, O:

Pastor Ben Baldus

January 28, 2012

Dear Campbells,

I was an organist and composer colleague of Bruce's. We ate breakfast together about once a month and he often shared draft pieces and ideas for ones. Bruce had many gifts, a wry sense of humor and I hope he is now in a better place. My condolences to family and friends.

Jamie Schmeling

January 16, 2012

Bruce was a delight to have here on Iona for the last two autumns. I appreciated our intellecutal conversations and working together to provide meaningful music and worship experiences. Thanks Bruce for all you brought our community. You will be missed.

Kasia Kantor

January 14, 2012

I met Bruce on Iona and I will always remember his kind and open heart, his readiness to help, listen and give support to his fellow Iona friends. Once before a service that I was leading and was very stressed about, Bruce came to the abbey earlier than usual and -knowing that I'm Polish - played Chopin for me to give me courage. He was restless in teaching us how to sing songs of worship ("If you know how to breathe-you know how to sing", as he used to say)and preparing Taize services.I thank God that He allowed me to meet such a wonderful man, I pray for the peace of his soul and for the consolation for all his loved ones.

Jayne Bell

January 14, 2012

I also was a volunteer on Iona during the time Bruce was there at the end of 2010. He was a great person, and I remember the fun we had playing Mafia with the other volunteers, and also the times Bruce and I spent together sorting out and playing in taize services, and also playing in services at the Abbey together, as I play the clarinet. He also played the bagpipes for my birthday celebration on Iona which was great, he was such a talented musician. He wrote in my leaving card, that my joyfulness is contagious, but he was always very joyful, happy and cheerful too. It was great to have known him. Rest in peace Bruce.

Gail Rehman

January 9, 2012

Remembering Bruce from Yale grad school...wonderful chamber music, sharing compositions and analyses, hiking, repairing the VW bus, and doing crazy stuff like showing up for our doctoral exams in formal wear with a bottle of wine and two glasses! From reading here, I know he realized his dream of creating a loving family while teaching music and living life passionately. My thoughts and prayers are with all who mourn now.

Doreen Storey

January 6, 2012

Peace to you now Bruce the Lord gives and The Lord Takes Praise be to God.

Fond memories of times on Iona as Volunteers your Music will live with many. I was so Greatful for your playing Fairwell to Stromness when I asked and even though you did not know the peice you had it all sorted within twenty four hours and I am sure all reading this will be nodding and saying how typical of the man.

My condolances to your Family and to all your friends Doreen Storey

Ellen Cooper

January 6, 2012

I am Bruce's sister, and for those of you who were unable to attend his memorial service on Tuesday, I thought it was a wonderful celebration of Bruce's life. Many thanks to Sulin, his wife, and to his children and church members and others who planned the service and then made it happen. The musical pieces, some written by Bruce, from organ to string solos and duet (by his children) to the amazing “Amazing Grace” recessional played by one of his compatriots in the Glen Erin Pipe Band, were all beautiful. The prayers and readings of scriptures, remembrances by friends, and commendation by the clergy were very moving. The pictures of Bruce and his family, including beautiful shots of the mountains he loved to hike and of the Abbey at Iona and surrounding seascapes, gave us a glimpse of the many aspects of Bruce's remarkable life. Many friends and family members to whom I spoke remarked that they learned something new about Bruce at the service.

Most of the many people who attended the service were shocked at his passing, as very few knew that he had a serious heart condition. That was the way he wanted it, and he lived a full and active life up to the very end. Although he and I did not see each other frequently after college, it happened that our lives crossed paths in Scotland this past August, and we hiked part of the West Highland Way together, prior to his returning to the Iona Community for a second year of volunteering as a musician. We talked about his experiences there in 2010, and I know he treasured the time he spent there. His knowledge and love of Scotland seemed at times almost as great as that of his music, although I think we know that's not really possible. With busy families and professions, I regret that, as adults, we did not get to know one another better than we did. Although physically gone, he will live long in our memories and in the lives of his wonderful children. May he rest in peace and continue to enrich us with the many legacies of his passion for his work and for life itself.