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In Memoriam

Christopher D. Campbell

(Photo Provided)

CHERRY VALLEY—Christopher Dudley Campbell, of Cherry Valley, died peacefully at home on January 6, with his family by his side. He was 74.

Chris was known for his easy smile, a remarkable inventory of stories told with dry humor and his boundless love for Cherry Valley. He was an avid history buff and collector, coauthoring a book about the history of Sharon Springs that featured his historical postcard collection.

A proud husband and father, Chris married Helen Eloise Bell in 1987. His previous marriage to Barbara Sepp had ended in divorce. He had three sons: Dakin Matthew, from his first marriage, and Samuel Dakin and Benjamin Hale, from his second.

When asked several years ago, Chris said what made him happy was “knowing that my family is healthy, happy and loved by many.”

Chris was born on July 30, 1949 in Brooklyn, New York, the second child and only son of Dudley Dakin Campbell Jr. and Rosalind Wickham Hale Campbell. He had three sisters: Heather, Caroline and Jennifer.

The family lived in Brooklyn Heights for a time, and Chris attended Packer Collegiate Institute and Poly Prep Country Day School. The family later left Brooklyn for the Pleasantville, New York suburbs, in Westchester County.

After graduating from high school, with the Vietnam War underway, Chris enlisted in the U.S. Navy. During basic training, he volunteered for Submarine Service, one of the Navy’s most select and challenging assignments. After rigorous physical, mental and psychological tests, Chris was admitted to submarine school in New London, Connecticut. He graduated at the top of his class.

After additional training in sonar school, he was assigned to the USS James Monroe, a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. While aboard as a sonar specialist, he achieved the rank of petty officer and received a top-secret security clearance. In 1969, after proudly serving his country, Chris received an honorable discharge.

After his tour of duty and college courses at Dutchess College and New York University, Chris returned to his ancestral home at Oakwood in Cherry Valley, New York.

Chris was a passionate genealogist, a direct descendant of James Campbell, who helped settle Cherry Valley in 1740. Chris was the great-great-great grandson of Colonel Samuel Campbell, who fought heroically during the French and Indian wars in the 1750s and, as a member of the Tryon County Committee on Safety during the American Revolution, in the Battle of Oriskany on August 6, 1777.

A favorite book of Chris’ was the “Annals of Tryon County,” written by William W. Campbell in 1831, which, he said several years ago, “gave me a sense of where I was from and the times and trials that our family endured.”

Like his ancestors, Chris gave back to the Upstate New York and Cherry Valley communities throughout his life.

In the 1970s, Chris worked with many local professional land surveyors. He helped measure out several sections for the construction of the new Interstate 88 as the Chief of Survey Parties.

In the early 1980s, in his position with the Otsego County Mapping Division, Chris was responsible for accurately determining and plotting the property lines of 15,000 parcels of land on the eastern side of Otsego County. The project took five years and required extensive research, interpreting aerial photography, orthophotography, and fieldwork.

In 1982, he co-founded PROTECT, an environmental group, to stop the exploitation of Otsego County’s natural resources. He would become its president, campaigning against the construction of Marcy South, a high-voltage power line planned to dissect the county. Though PROTECT was founded in Cooperstown, it developed into a nine-county coalition, eventually getting the line rerouted.

Chris was also the founder and former chairman of the Cherry Valley Planning Board, the sole assessor for the Town of Cherry Valley for many years, and a former Cherry Valley Fire Department member.

In 1985, Chris started the Campbell Agency, a successful real estate brokerage in Cherry Valley, and a related abstract and appraisal company. He would be a real estate broker for the remainder of his working life.

In later years, Chris got into amateur radio, feeding a childhood love of science and electronics. He held an Extra Class radio license, call sign W2CDC, and was a former president of the Otsego County Amateur Radio Association.

During those experiences, Chris made lifelong connections. He was always happy to greet someone he hadn’t seen in years, often remembering them by their first name.

Chris is survived by his wife of 36 years, Eloise, and his sons Dakin, Samuel, and Benjamin; his grandchildren, Willa, Malcolm, Ada, and Kai; his mother, Rosalind, and his sisters Heather, Caroline, and Jennifer. He is also survived by his former wife, Barbara. He is predeceased by his father, Dudley.

At Chris’ request, there will be no calling hours or memorial service. Interment of his cremains will be at the Campbell family plot in the Cherry Valley Cemetery.

Donations in Chris’ memory may be made to the Cherry Valley Health Center, 2 Main Street, Cherry Valley, NY 13320.


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