Jennie Ruth Campbell of Alton died Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, at the age of 91, suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia in her final years.
Jennie was born Jennie Ruth Pope on July 23, 1923, near Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, to parents Virgil Pope and Dorothy Catherine (Canfield) Pope. After Jennie received her high school diploma from the province of Saskatchewan, Jennie and family moved to the Clinton, Wis., area in 1941. Jennie graduated again, this time from Clinton High School, in 1942. After high school, Jennie got a job as a clerk at Fairbanks Morse, a company in Beloit, Wis., that made engines for the war effort. A World War II veteran, Jennie joined the U.S. Coast Guard SPARS in 1943 and was stationed in West Palm Beach, Fla., and New York City, N.Y. Jennie was honorably discharged from the Coast Guard in March 1946. From 1946 to 1950, under the GI Bill, Jennie attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she met Robert “Bob” Blair Campbell, whom she married on June 13, 1949. Jennie received her bachelor of arts degree in sociology in January 1950. Jennie and Bob moved to Grand Forks, N.D., where Bob had taken a job as a sociology professor at the University of North Dakota. It was in Grand Forks where the first four of Jennie’s children were born. While living in Grand Forks, Jennie and Bob built a summer cottage on Maple Lake near Mentor, Minn. In 1962, Jennie and Bob moved to Alton, where Bob got a job as a sociology professor at the Alton campus of the newly established Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. It was in Alton where Jennie’s fifth and last child was born. Jennie worked for two years at the Alton Mental Health center in the late 1960s and was a substitute teacher in the Alton public school district and at Marquette High School in the 1970s and ’80s. Jennie enjoyed bowling, bridge, art of many kinds, building projects, and rug hooking. She created many wonderful wool rugs, including a series depicting her life story which was featured in the Alton Telegraph in 1995 and Rug Hooking magazine in 1999. Jennie and Bob lived the rest of their lives in Alton except for summers spent at their cottage and one family trip to England for the 1969-1970 school year. On that trip, Jennie connected with her English pen-pal with whom she kept in contact since childhood. Jennie kept in touch with many friends near and far for as long as she was able. She was a faithful friend to many. Jennie and Bob were the best of friends. Jennie was a devoted mother. She set an example of honesty and compassion, treating everyone with respect. She was an advocate for equal rights for all. She loved easily and was easy to love.
Jennie was preceded in death by her husband in 1999, her parents; her brothers, Charles Donald Pope (surviving wife, Mary Ellen Pope) and Virgil Lindsay Pope (surviving wife, Sharryl Pope); and her sister, Dorothy Smith (husband, Wayne).
Jennie is survived by her sisters, Mary Marxen of Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, Canada, Shirley Thompson of Madison, Wis., Darlene (Don) Polzin of Des Moines, Iowa; her children, Blair (Josephine) Campbell, Laura Campbell (Dave Unland), Ross (Loraine) Campbell, Martha (Lloyd) Roberts, and Jennifer Campbell (William Taul); grandchildren Cassidy Thomas, Charles Campbell, Sean Unland, Brendan Campbell, Kara Campbell LaVelle, Leah Campbell, Jessica Roberts Hughes, Seth Roberts, and Christian Roberts; and great-grandson Oscar LaVelle.
A memorial service will be planned at a later date.
Staten-Fine Funeral Home in Alton has assisted the family with arrangements.
Online condolences and guestbook may be found at www.staten-fine.com.