William “Bill” Harris Campbell III died November 6th, 2019, at age 64.
Bill was quiet and humble. Fortunately, the same can’t be said about those of us writing his obituary, and we’re happy to boast about the wonderful person he was, and the impact he had on us all.
Born on December 4th, 1954, in Gainesville, Florida, Bill was the eldest of seven siblings and countless foster siblings. They referred to him as “the responsible one,” who would drive 64mph in a 65mph zone. He attended Georgia State University, where he received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. While attending college, he met the love of his life, Kathy. They married in 1978 and together they raised two sons, Neil and Ian. Later they happily added their sons’ partners, Courtney (Ian) and Fran (Neil) to the family.
Bill loved his children and always supported their interests. He taught them to be kind, self-sufficient, and reliable. So it’s no surprise they turned out to be so amazing. And handsome.
More than anything, he loved his wife, Kathy, and the life they shared. The two traveled the world together and had recently enjoyed trips to Singapore, Sri Lanka, and even Boise, ID. Bill also made Kathy breakfast every Sunday morning. That may not sound very exciting, but get this: he recently began adding arugula to their scrambled eggs. In many ways, he was a wild man.
Bill spent his career in the federal government. He lived and worked in Japan, Germany, and Washington, DC, attained SES status, and received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executives. In short, he was a big deal. He was proud to work in the Office of Management and Budget for the Obama administration, and to bring his mother to President Obama’s first inauguration.
Bill had a lifelong love of nature . He developed a passion for landscaping and yardwork at a young age. In fact, he loved it so much, it seems almost unfathomable that he ever made his kids mow the lawn. And yet he did, probably to teach them a lesson about responsibility or something like that.
In his post-retirement years, Bill was able to pursue several passions. He took up photography, and enjoyed taking long hikes to photograph nature. He climbed Mt. St. Helens. He began to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot by taking flying lessons. He volunteered at Evergreen Habitat for Humanity. But he still made time to text his kids and tell them to call their mom.
He always looked out for other people. He was happy to help his family and friends with any task, from landscaping projects to organizing their finances to washing their car. He really loved washing cars.
For those who would like to honor Bill’s memory, do something he loved to do: Hike a new trail. Check out the view from a scenic overlook. Take photos of the beauty of nature. Volunteer for the community. Teach a bunch of six-year-olds how to play soccer. Help those in need by giving them your time and love. Film a loose remake of E.T. starring your kids and a Dino puppet. Visit someplace you’ve never been. Push your pet cat around in a box and call it “Kitty Andretti.” Learn to cook a new dish (even if it’s “chip surprise”). Have a beer and laugh. Take a nap on the floor next to your grand-dog. Go dancing. Climb a mountain. Learn to fly. Wash your car. And when you do, take a moment to think about a man who loved doing these things, and won’t be around to do them anymore.
How lucky we were to have him in our lives.
Please consider donating to Evergreen Habitat for Humanity in memory of Bill: