Lt. Col. (ret) David “Bruce” Campbell, 74, of Stillwater died peacefully on Jan. 2, 2013, at the Veterans Administration Home in Clinton, Okla., after a brief, dignified and valiant struggle with dementia. Bruce continued to take solace and comfort in the sound of his wife’s voice to the very end of his life.
Bruce was born to William David and Beatrice (Johnson) Campbell in Claremore on Feb. 11, 1938. Raised in Stillwater and a life long Oklahoma State University fan, Bruce graduated in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in education. He was a proud Cowboy wrestler earning NCAA championship in 1959 and 1961. Upon graduation, Bruce was commissioned as a second lieutenant . in the U.S. Army. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam where he flew helicopters and the Mohawk surveillance aircraft.
While at OSU, Bruce met and fell in love with his future wife on a blind date. Jeane (Brown) and Bruce wed in Sapulpa, on May 28, 1960. They had two daughters Susan Campbell Glasgow of Enid and Debra Campbell of Seattle, Wash.
Bruce enjoyed a lifetime of athleticism and fitness, inspiring friends and family. “I can’t” were not words in his vocabulary. With encouragement and quiet strength, he twice led his young daughters to Mt. Fuji’s summit while stationed in Japan. He completed the Marine Corps marathon in 1982. He enjoyed water-skiing, bicycling, and walking in nature. He was a mentor to many young wrestlers, volunteering his time to help them become state champions or to simply achieve their highest potential. He remained young at heart and dedicated to teaching through his lifetime.
After serving his country for 22 years, he returned home to retire in Stillwater where he owned and successfully managed The Formal Place tuxedo shop in addition to working for Stillwater Flight Center as a flight instructor and charter pilot. He was known to be a calm, patient flight instructor, and took pride guiding his students to reach their goal of becoming safe, skilled pilots. He was a member of the Stillwater Rifle and Pistol Club and enjoyed participating in the Cowboy Action Shootouts.
Bruce will be remembered as a humble, competent man who would drop everything to help anyone and would never shy away from a challenge. He was a hero to his family, enjoyed time with his grandchildren, and his playful mischievousness will be missed.
Bruce was preceded in death by his parents Wm. David and Beatrice Campbell and his sister Ruth Erbar. He is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, his two daughters, his sister Zara Fulton of Pt. O’Conner, Texas, six grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Per Bruce’s request, there will be no memorial service. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 75817, Topeka, KS 66675 or the USO, Box 9860, Washington DC 20077-7677.