January 7, 1952 – March 26, 2021
John Wesley Campbell, Jr., passed away peacefully with his loving family by his side, on Friday, March 26, 2021 at the age of 69.
John was the devoted husband of Debra K. (nee' Nolan); loving dad of Brian (Crystal) Meyer, Lauren (Patrick) Schumacher, Alyson (Andy) Kowal, and Katie (Alex) Zimmermann; cherished grandfather of Adora, Anna, Marlee, McKenna, Campbell, and Sloane; grandpa-to-be of Baby-Girl Kowal; dear son-in-law of Shirley Nolan dear brother-in-law of John (the late Linda) Nolan, Steven (Lesa) Nolan, Timothy (Jacque) Nolan, Robert (Heather) Nolan, Amy (Steven) Shelby; Robin (Michelle) Johnston; and Theresa Passmore; dear nephew of Mildred Campbell, Betty Campbell, and Pauline Gibson; a dear cousin; treasured by his best friend of over 60 years, John (Betty) Burke; a proud Roosevelt Rough Rider, and a dear friend to many in his lifetime. Preceded in death by his father, John Wesley Campbell Sr, mother, Jerry Campbell, brother Robert Campbell, father-in-law John Nolan, as well as many loving aunts and uncles.
A visitation will be held Thursday, April 1, from 4-8pm at Hoffmeister Colonial Mortuary, 6464 Chippewa Street, St. Louis MO 63109. A Funeral Service will be held Friday, April 2, at 11am at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in John's memory made to Washington University Sarcoma Research Fund are greatly appreciated by his family.
Please leave a fond, favorite memory of John for his family to cherish at the "Add a Memory" link below.
John Wesley Campbell Jr., (1952 – 2021)
If you judge a life by the love and admiration of family and friends, then John’s life was well-lived. John was born at U.S. Army Hospital, Ft. Bragg, in Fayetteville, NC on January 7, 1952 to loving parents John and Jerry Campbell. Shortly after, their family of three ventured to St. Louis to plant their roots. Seventeen months later John was promoted to one of the most privileged roles of his life, a big brother to Bobby. John’s affinity for family began early in life and is deep rooted through time well spent in the hot summer air of Reidsville, NC and Caledonia, MO alongside a large extended family. He was blessed with an abundance of love from his aunts, uncles, and the best cousins one could have been blessed to have and grow up alongside.
John was not only a scholar in academics, he was a natural born leader. He served as Student Council Vice-President of his Sophomore, was crowned Homecoming King, and flexed his skills in athletics too. Although he would never tell you about it, legend has it that John was the best of the best when it came to his varsity football (’66-68) and wrestling (’66-68) careers. John made varsity as a Sophomore and was a two-way player, lining up at receiver and defensive back. The only time he came off the field was on kickoffs and punts. For Senior year, he was moved to Quarterback and excelled even without much experience in that position. Even with all that success, John much preferred wrestling. During his senior year, he was the only wrestler to qualify for the state tournament from the school, and one of two from the district to advance. John placed 4th, but always wished he had another shot to go back. I think we all can agree that he would have taken the title that next year. There was no quit in John. John graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1969 and remained a proud Roughrider throughout his life, planning their reunions and most recently, spending every third Wednesday of the month reminiscing and storytelling with his lifelong friends at their very own Chat & Chew hosted at The Mack in South City. Speaking of those lifelong friends, they showed up in droves throughout John’s journey and carried the Campbell family on their shoulders until his final days. John would say there was no other class that compared to the class of ’69 and he meant that. The bond they have together is immeasurable and John held their love, friendship and memories on high his entire life. That’s why John’s family knows these friends by name, calls two of them Godfathers, and cherishes them close at heart as dear loved ones too.
Professionally, John began working at Mercantile Bank in 1980. John moved to other banks until his retirement from U.S. Bank as an Assistant Vice President, Senior Credit Lender in June 2019. He worked and played alongside such wonderful colleagues at each of those banks, many of which have the same career timeline as John. Imagine how lucky someone can be to work with the same great people for 20 - 35 years. John didn’t take this good fortune for granted. These friends also became an extended family to him.
As he would have told you, John’s most proud accomplishments were his kids. He became a father in March 1982, days after “The Great Blizzard of 82” (quoted as his words, and trust us, after a few drinks, all that snow would become deeper and deeper for dramatic effect)! Living in the city at that time, he was so nervous to not have his street parking clean that he did a lot of shoveling preparing for his oldest daughter, Lauren. Shortly after, daughter number two, Alyson, came in December 1984. In April 1987, John met his wife of almost 32 years, Debbie, where he treated her to pizza on The Hill and an up all night conversation in Mercantile’ s garage. In July 1988, John welcomed his third daughter, Katie, and he and Debbie married on May 20, 1989. On that day, John officially became the proud father to his first and only son, Brian.
Much of his late 40’s and 50’s was spent at Wiethaupt fields in Florissant watching all four of his kids (often with the conundrum of the same time, different fields) play their sport of choice. A cold beer in his hands, walking field to field, was how he wanted to spend his weekends. John served as Katie’s softball coach for many years, and having played recreational, yet competitive slow pitch in his 20’s and 30’s, he was the right man for the job. A true competitor, he was a regular to share a strategy pep talk in between innings and could be found calling the pitches from the stands. Once the lights of Wiethaupt switched off and the kids grew, John found more time to get back to his avid reading, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and Zelda. He never missed an episode of NCIS and was a true movie man. He loved John Wayne classics (The Quiet Man, in particular), Indiana Jones, Thor, Harry Potter, and the Avengers series.
Above everything, dart night took the cake as a favorite past time! Through this hobby, John could combine his social and competitive spirit, while having a few cocktails and spending time with his kids and close teammates. To no surprise to anyone, John was “the guy to beat in the league” for many years. John was the partner you hoped you picked for the night and was as confident and clutch as anyone when it came to hitting those triple 20’s. While winning came natural for the team, the real score was kept by the family of the friendships created on those Tuesday nights.
John’s family grew over the years and with every walk down the aisle he grew a new admirer. He was a confidant and good time guy to his son-in laws, Patrick, Andy and Alex, as well as his daughter-in-law, Crystal. More affectionally called Papa, he was blessed with six grandchildren, Adora, Anna, Marlee, McKenna, Campbell, and Sloane. A few weeks prior to his passing, he learned and shared the surprise news that another granddaughter will join the family in August 2021.
The Campbell pets were also admirers of John, serving as his affectionate and loyal companions over the years. While Jager always held a special place in his heart, his dogs, Lila and Loki, and cat, Maverick, were watchful and steadfast, bringing John extra TLC and peace until the very end.
John Wesley Campbell Jr., 69, passed away from metastatic bone cancer on March 26, 2021 surrounded by his family. With the help and advocacy of his longtime oncologist and his medical team, John was able to overcome his initial cancer diagnosis of Dedifferentiated Chondrosarcoma in 2014. And with their watchful eye (and John’s champion spirit), John was blessed with another seven years of life before his cancer spread to his lung lining in June 2020. As a team, John’s family was blessed to be able to care for him at home throughout his illness, until the very end.
There is so much more that could be said about John, and we are sure those stories will be shared in due time and hopefully over cocktails and laughter. It’s true that once you were in John’s life, you remained in his heart, and he remained a part of yours. Perhaps the greatest thing to know about him though, is he believed in keeping it simple, being kind to all and taking the long way home to enjoy the scenery. Life certainly went full circle for John. While he had to endure the job of caretaking, and ultimately losing his dad, mom and brother over the last 20 years, on the day of his death, two male cardinals and one female waited outside his house looking inward. As he deserved the finest sendoff one can have, family and friends visited him and sent their love which comforted John immensely. You can’t get much better than having your family by your side as you leave one place to fly high in another. We imagine that the embrace of his parents and brother who waited so patiently for him was met with infinite happiness. What a fine reunion that must have been.
Washington University Sarcoma Research Fund
4590 Childrens Place, Campus Box 8056 Attn: Grant Lawrence , St. Louis , MO 63110
Visitation - Thursday
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Funeral Service - Friday
Friday, April 2, 2021
Sam - sandi Cook Haught Cook-Haught
April 2, 2021
John was friend on fb. I went to school with Bobby Campbell, but I knew John thru him. My Sister Barb knew John best.
He will be missed. He loved his family and treasured his fb friends. RIP FRIEND
Jeannie Sovar (Lake)
April 1, 2021
So many memories that can’t be put into words. You were loved then and still today by so many people. You were the best softball coach my girls could have ever asked for. Prayers for the friends and family to feel God’s Peace, Love and Comfort during this very difficult time and in the days ahead. Rest In Peace John Campbell.
April 1, 2021
John was a character in his own right as he demonstrated the first time I met him at Kierstens Bar. That character grew without boundaries throughout the years and will be greatly missed. I, like so many, want more time. So much still to say but I’m comforted knowing “he knows” and the words didn’t need to be said. Say hi to your Mom and Dad, laugh with Bobby, and Rest In Peace.
April 1, 2021
I knew John very well. John was a very distinct person who was a good friend and employee. He was kind and gentle and humble and loving. He was also outgoing and trustworthy. They just don't make enough folks as good as John. Rest in peace my friend.
March 31, 2021
It's a very sad day when you say goodbye to a man like John Campbell. A life long friend who stood by me when times were good and more importantly, when times were bad. He was a major influence in my life and he showed me how to be a better person . He always put others before himself. He always found time to help those that needed him. He was a great example for others to follow. Today is a very sad day.
March 31, 2021
I am very sorry that John passed away. I went to Monroe Grade School and Roosevelt High School with my long time friend John Campbell. John is the 1969 St. Louis Post Dispatch Scholar Athlete from Roosevelt High School. I will miss John.
Debra Hayden McNamee
March 31, 2021
Good man, gone too soon. I had the pleasure of catching up with John at the RHS 50th reunion. For that I am grateful. He spoke of his lovely family and also many of our good friends from school. He also mentioned his fight with cancer and he was so confident about continuing to fight. John was a “big man” on campus at RHS and I’m sure a big man in life! To his family- keep those beautiful smiles going.
March 30, 2021
John and I rekindled our friendship at the Mack and our Roosevelt reunion, after years of unintentional separation of raising families, working, and an endless to do list. We laughed so easily as if no time had lapsed. We both expressed regret our lives drifted apart and vowed to change that. We planned a get together with our wives at Fast Eddies...Then the pandemic hit. John was a strong competitor with a gentle soul. I miss my friend. I will miss the sound of his laughter. With deepest sympathy to the entire Campbell family, Kelly Carbery
March 30, 2021
John, affectionally known as Bubba to some of us, was a co-worker for over 30+ years. Not only was he a co-worker and good friend, but was like a brother to me. He worked as hard as he played, which says a lot. You could never whisper a joke to him because his hearty, vivacious and infectious laugh gave you away.
He loved to brag on his family, which was easy to do. I wish I could tell a story like he did, keeping you on the edge of your seat til the end.
Blessings to the family. I'm sure John will be watching over all of you.
Miss you Bubba!
March 30, 2021
The memory of John's reaction in his happy eyes & smile, at Katie's wedding, was breathtaking on the LOVE that sparkled every time he looked at his gorgeous daughter as a bride throughout the ceremony and reception!! A BEAUTIFUL memory!!
RIP John, your family will miss you deeply, especially Debbie! XXXXX
March 29, 2021
We had the privilege of knowing John for the last 11 years. He was such a wonderful role model and I looked up to him as the father I never had. My favorite memory was watching him with Marlee and McKenna right before Kate and Alex tied the knot. He was getting smooches on the cheek from the ladies in his life and he had the biggest grin on his face. So happy. So carefree in that moment. Family was very important to him; it is comforting to know he was surrounded by those who loved him most. Jake and I are very honored to have been given the chance to know John.
We witnessed John be an amazing coach, dart player, and friend, but he excelled at being the best husband, father, and grandfather. Life is not going to be the same, but we are all better people because we knew him.
We cannot wait until we get to pop open a cold one and watch a game with him again.❤
March 29, 2021
John was one of the finest upstanding people I have had the pleasure of knowing. As a friend you could not ask for a finer quality brave, but very kind person to have as a friend. We grew up in South Saint Louis City. John was a first class athlete as well as a all around great friend. He will be missed. God Bless John, and his family.
March 29, 2021
John was a good friend and fellow teammate of mine on the RHS football team. John was a very good player and it was a pleasure to play ball with him. My deepest sympathy to John's family.