Bruce Rankin McCampbell
Copyright * All rights reserved
J.C. (Jim) Tumblin, OD, DOS
3604 Kesterwood Drive, East
Knoxville, Tennessee 37918-2557
(See Images America: Fountain City, page 118-119)
Bruce Rankin McCampbell was born in Knox County on January 15, 1916, the second of three children of Bruce Phillip McCampbell (1882-1929) and Mary Isabel (Rankin) McCampbell (1888-1975).
Prior to his marriage, Bruce P. McCampbell bought nineteen acres on Anderson Road in the Beverly Community and established a family dairy farm which produced milk, buttermilk, butter and farm produce. He marketed door to door from an enclosed wagon pulled by a team of mules. Father McCampbell was never idle but he somehow found time to prepare play areas and hang a swing for his children and enjoyed watching them play.
Bruce and Mary McCampbell’s other two children were Ruth Isabel who was born on July 10, 1914 and Joseph Samuel (Joe) who was born January 27, 1920. Ruth married William J. Marston in 1938 and made her home in Arlington, Virginia. Joe married Marguerite Mary Harrison on April 27, 1945 and they made their home in Fountain City.
Prior to her marriage, Mary (Rankin) McCampbell had a taste for adventure. When she was twenty-two, she and her friend, Nina Mynatt, moved to Cloud Croft, New Mexico to serve as teachers for a wealthy rancher’s children and those of his employees. She lived there and taught for a year, although at this point in her life she had had no formal education as a teacher.
Mary and the McCampbell children suffered a great tragedy when Bruce Phillip McCampbell died on December 14, 1929, at only 47 years of age after surgery for a duodenal ulcer. His ulcer had failed to respond to the treatment available at that time, although he was treated for four or five years. His small dairy and his milk route required him to arise at 4:30 a.m. and to work many hours each day. However, he was remembered for his jovial manner. By his hard work he had reduced the mortgage on the farm from $25,500 to $17,250 at the time of his death.
Mary had two teen-agers and a nine-year old to provide for, so she sold the farm. She attended summer school at the University of Tennessee and earned her teaching certificate. For several years she taught the children of patients in the nearby tuberculosis facility, the Beverly Hills Sanitarium, where the children were housed in a dormitory-like addition. Later she was appointed principal at Ritta School (by now a four-room school) at the salary of seventy dollars a month. Even that meager salary was encumbered by the fact that it was paid in warrants which could not be redeemed at face value for one year. She was able to discount them ten percent for a net of sixty-three dollars a month, hardly enough to house, feed and clothe a family of four.
In 1930 Grandfather Rankin used some of the insurance money to build a six-room brick house on Sixth Avenue in Fountain City for his daughter and her children. They were now within walking distance of Central High School and Rev. McCorkle’s Fountain City Presbyterian Church. They attended Sunday School and Sunday morning and evening services, along with the Wednesday night prayer meeting. The church provided the family’s religious training and its social outlet as well.
Carrying the morning paper, the Knoxville Journal, provided Bruce’s early training in economics and supplemented the family income. He had a large route with 95 customers paying twenty cents per week--eight cents for the carrier and twelve cents for each newspaper. In future years the need to rise at five o’clock each morning was not a pleasant memory. However, at the time he was pleased that, after he collected on Saturdays, his profits enabled him to buy a whole coaster wagon full of groceries at the A&P store to stretch the family’s depression-days income. He also baby-sat evenings and mowed Aunt Roberta Rankin’s large lawn and others in the neighborhood with a push mower for fifty to seventy-five cents for a typical lawn.
Bruce had started school in the eight-room, red brick Smithwood School and attended there for the first four grades. He then transferred to the two-room frame schoolhouse at Ritta and completed grade school there in the spring of 1929. That fall he entered Central High School. He particularly remembered his freshman year Latin course and Lela Pace Moore, the teacher. His after-school tutoring from his aunt Nellie McCampbell, who had once taught Latin at Maryville College, was very helpful. In his book he also recalled particularly his sophomore year and Louise VanGilder who taught French and Anna Weigel, his biology teacher. Although he only weighed 140 pounds, he played football during his sophomore and junior years.
Many members of the family had attended Maryville College, a Presbyterian school founded by Dr. Isaac Anderson, a distant uncle on both the McCampbell and the Anderson side of the family. Older sister Ruth was attending there on a scholarship arranged by her aunt Nellie which she supplemented by working in the school library. Bruce was also admitted to the college in the fall of 1933. He earned the $119 per semester cost for room, board and tuition by working on campus. The pay was ten cents an hour for helping maintain the buildings, mowing, replacing broken glass, repairing plumbing and the like. Although he was not politically ambitious, he was encouraged to run for president of the freshman class and was elected. He also found time somehow to run high hurdles on the track team.
The pre-law curriculum had been Bruce’s first choice but his freshman-year biology and zoology teachers strongly recommended he enter pre-med. He decided he was not cut out to be a lawyer anyway. He chose pre-med and never looked back after that.
Bruce took some time off in the fall of 1935 to drive his Uncle John Stoffell on a tour of the West--Texas, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park, Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains and then on to Washington State for a visit with cousins.
During summer vacations he worked for his Uncle Harve McCampbell in his hardware store. Uncle Harve bought a two-hundred acre farm at Lowe’s Ferry in the edge of Blount County at the site of Admiral Farragut’s childhood home. Bruce spent one summer helping restore an old house there which was built about 1850.
Even with the interruptions, he was able to transfer to the University of Tennessee in January 1936, attend summer school and graduate in June 1937 with more hours than he needed and a grade average of 86. He met the requirements for medical school. After working for the Tennessee Valley Authority as an assistant sanitary engineer at Iuka, Mississippi and nearby Pickwick and Wheeler Lakes, Bruce entered the University of Tennessee Medical School in January 1938.
With her older children, Ruth and Bruce, off at college; Mary McCampbell rented the house on Sixth Avenue to the Cooks and she and Joe rented a two-room house near Ritta School, just off Washington Pike. After two years, she was able to buy a house next to her rented house on Sixth Avenue. In 1938 she sold both houses and moved in with aunt Roberta Rankin on Colonial Circle after grandmother Rankin died.
In Memphis for their first year of medical school, Bruce and his friend, Paul Goodman, joined the Theta Kappa Psi medical fraternity that provided living quarters, such as they were. Bruce got a job in Dr. Morrison’s chemistry lab, earning seventeen cents an hour, and this helped to pay the $70 tuition each quarter. They bought used textbooks and ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunches. They studied hard, often until 2 or 3:00 A.M.
During his second year, he was fortunate to be the one student in his class to be chosen for a student internship at the U.S. Marine Hospital in Memphis run by the Public Health Service for the men working on the river. For nine of his twelve quarters he was compensated ten dollars a month and was provided room and board, laundry and uniforms. The medical experience was the real bonus since he scrubbed as first assistant in emergency surgery such as appendectomies and injuries. He also did case histories and physicals on the late afternoon and evening admissions and rotated every third night in the emergency room. This exposure to the practical aspects of medicine gave him an edge on some of his fellow students who obtained their knowledge strictly from textbooks. At the end of some early quarters Bruce was second, third or occasionally fifth in his class. By his twelfth quarter, he had the highest overall average in the class (92.2) and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Fraternity.
The fall of 1940 was a momentous time in his life. At the Phi Chi’s Columbus Day Dance, October 12, 1940, Bruce observed this beautiful blonde dancing with a Phi Chi brother. He cut in and asked for a dance. When he asked, "Where are you from?" She answered, "Bruce, Mississippi." He quipped, "Bruce, Mississippi, I guess that town is named after me. My name is Bruce." She asked, "Well, what is your last name?" He replied, "McCampbell." Bruce asked, "What is your name?" She answered, "Faye Williams." He was smitten and danced with no one else the rest of the evening.
The couple dated as frequently as they could while he completed his training and he received his medical degree in the spring of 1941. Bruce thought he had some time to work as a junior medical officer for the Tennessee Valley Authority at the Wilson Dam in Alabama. He did work ten days taking physicals and treating minor illness and injury cases. However, in 1939 during his second year in medical school, World War II had begun in Europe. Then with the attack on Pearl Harbor, America entered the war in December 1941. Bruce was number twenty-three at the local draft board. He had been accepted for his internship at the University of Michigan, but decided to seek a Navy commission and serve his internship there. He and four classmates drove to Pensacola, Florida to take the stiff three-day examination. Bruce was one of the two who passed. He received orders to report to San Diego, California, on April 15 to begin his medical internship in the Naval Hospital there.
He and Faye decided to get married. With his pending graduation ceremonies in Memphis on March 24, they decided to get married in Faye’s hometown. Faye’s father, John E. Williams, took them to the Justice of the Peace to buy the licenses on a Saturday afternoon. They laughed many times about it over the years, surmising that the presence of the bride’s father probably led the Justice of the Peace to suspect that this was to be a "shotgun wedding." Not so, the local Methodist minister performed the marriage on Sunday, March 16, 1941 in the front parlor of the Williams home in Bruce.
The young couple was back in Memphis for Bruce’s medical school graduation. His mother was quite distressed that her arthritis made it impossible for her to attend the wedding or the graduation. However; brother Joe, sister Ruth, aunts Nellie McCampbell and Roberta Rankin and a few other family members did attend the graduation ceremony. Aunt Nellie arranged for a combination wedding party-graduation celebration at the Gayoso Hotel. Then the graduation party for the class was held at the Peabody Hotel.
These were austere times. Commissioned medical interns in the U.S. Navy were paid $160 with an allowance of $100 a month for rent and subsistence. Bruce had already obligated himself to pay for the wedding ring with seven small diamonds--$10 down and $10 per month. As optimistic as a young couple could be with war clouds on the horizon, they set out for California in Bruce’s 1940 Ford coupe. Faye’s father gave them $65 traveling money. With their Scottie dog, some household belongings, a set of silverware Faye’s parents had given them and the few small appliances they owned; the overloaded springs on the car "hit bottom."
On April 15, 1941, they reached San Diego and began the rotating twelve-month internship. It proved to be an ideal situation for a young physician, since many reserve medical officers had been called up from positions in medical schools and from private practice. They in essence became teaching faculty in the naval hospital and mentors for the young interns, just twelve in each group. The Chamber of Commerce referred them to a Upas street courtyard of several small, four-room stucco houses for an affordable $55 per month. At the time San Diego was a lovely town of only 90,000 and was near the Pacific Ocean with idea weather.
The numerous recruits in the training station and the sailors from the ships that usually filled the harbor provided vast opportunity to develop medical skills. During the internship year, Dr. McCampbell performed 35 appendectomies, about that same number of hernia operations and numerous minor surgeries. Those interns who did not want to do surgery turned over cases to him. This experience proved to be of great value later when his medical duties included serving war casualties and performing a memorable emergency appendectomy on a rolling destroyer in the middle of the Pacific five days from the nearest naval hospital.
After war was declared following the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, security increased dramatically on the West Coast. The interns were required to make rounds of the huge hospital every hour during the night on bicycles carrying .45 automatic pistols as side arms.
The year was marked by the arrival of their first child, little Mary Faye, on February 7, 1942. Complications required the young mother to stay in the hospital for ten days. Then Faye came home to full duty as a mother. Six weeks later, she developed a frightening eye condition. A miniature blood clot had occurred in the posterior occipital lobe of the brain causing a bilateral loss of some of her peripheral visual field. There was no treatment for the condition. It did not progress over the years and, when she suffered a mini-stroke in 1988, the old infarct was visible on a CT scan, a technique unavailable in the 1940s. In one positive development, Dr. Bruce's brother, Joe McCampbell, was assigned to the San Diego Naval Air Station for training as an aviation machinist mate.
At the end of the year Dr. Bruce was ordered to sea duty. Faye, infant Mary and brother Joe drove with him to Los Angeles where he took a train to San Francisco. There Dr. Bruce boarded a Navy transport ship to Hawaii. Faye’s sister, Ivy (Williams) Moore came to be with her for a while and, after Dr. Bruce left, accompanied her back to Mississippi.
Three new Navy doctors, Drs. McCampbell, Johnson and Pickering, reported to the mobile hospital overlooking Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The detail officer said, "Now, gentlemen, we have three billets to fill. Two are on destroyers and one on an aircraft carrier. If any of you have any particular choice, let me know about it right now." Dr. Johnson, a Texan, quickly said he preferred the carrier assignment. Ironically, a direct hit on the sick bay of the carrier during the Battle of Santa Cruz killed the doctor very early in the War. Drs. McCampbell and Pickering were assigned to sister ships in Destroyer Division Four, Dr. Bruce to the USS Mugford. It had been in Pearl Harbor on that fateful day, but had not been damaged. However, it was in dreadful condition as it was being retro-fitted with anti-aircraft guns, radar and other wartime equipment.
When at sea for periods of a few weeks to as long as three months, their day began early. Enemy submarines were more likely to spot the ship at dawn so General Quarters was sounded one hour before dawn. The claxon shrieked and all hands scrambled out of their hammocks, jumped into their clothes, grabbed life jackets and reported to battle stations. The medical officer reported to the wardroom and the chief pharmacist’s mate to the sick bay, aft. Medical supplies were divided equally between the two medical stations so a single hit would not destroy both units.
In his two years at sea Lieutenant McCampbell served all the medical needs for the destroyer’s usual compliment--20 officers and 300 enlisted men. He held sick call daily, treated everything from toothache to athlete’s foot to appendicitis on rare occasions--a total of two appendectomies during his tour. He also lectured periodically on first aid procedures to be used in the case of attack and assisted the communications officer in decoding messages, since other military activity was prohibited for medical officers by the Geneva Conventions.
In addition to the constant tension for fear of a submarine attack, foul weather in a "tin can" was a fearsome experience, especially at night, when the ship was completely blacked out. Heavy seas resulted in unbelievable motions. The bow rose high in the air, dropped back into the sea with a jolt, rolled sideways 30 to 40 degrees, then repeated the twisting motion. The ship creaked and groaned as if it would tear apart. Every unsecured chair or chest scooted about wildly. The men pulled up the side rails of their bunks and lay in a fetal position with their back against the bulkhead and their knees wedged against pillows placed against the side rails. With each roll they wondered if the ship would right itself. Bad weather often lasted for several hours.
Those on watch topside worked under very dangerous conditions with waves sweeping over the forecastle and down the decks. Walking required strong lifelines to prevent being washed overboard. A sharp lookout was necessary to avoid collision with other ships in the fleet. The crew experienced relief only when dawn came and all the ships were observed steaming along in their assigned station. The words of the Navy hymn, Eternal Father Strong to Save, had a deep meaning for destroyer crews, particularly in wartime.
The USS Mugford accompanied its squadron to Australia, via New Caledonia, then in a convoy to Auckland, New Zealand. During one maneuver, the Mugford’s steering gear failed without warning and, out of control, the ship steamed across the bow of the carrier USS Yorktown missing her by only a few feet. It was a narrow escape. The carrier was so large it would have cut the destroyer in two.
They then docked at Wellington, New Zealand, and proceeded to Guadalcanal, a small island in the Solomon Islands. Before daybreak they cruised back and forth as the Marines made their amphibious attack on the beach, firing five-inch shells into the Japanese positions. Then they patrolled for enemy submarines as the ships were unloaded.
On August 7, 1942, Lieutenant McCampbell was on the bridge when he spotted 32 Japanese planes flying in from the north. They dropped their bombs, but there was no serious damage. However, that afternoon a flight of dive bombers arrived. Although the Mugford steamed in an evasive manner at high speeds, almost 35 knots, a 500-pound bomb hit the number three gun and killed 21 men, including chief pharmacist mate Lamb. Manning the dressing station in the wardroom, Dr. Bruce treated horribly burned men and others with limbs blown off, an overwhelming number of casualties for only one physician. The medical supplies were depleted--half were destroyed in the aft dressing station and some were used on two Japanese pilots who were picked out of the water in the August 7th attack. As darkness descended, the survivors were transferred to a transport where more medical help was available. Exhausted both physically and emotionally, Lieutenant McCampbell leaned over the side of the ship and vomited.
The next afternoon, August 8th, a large flight of Japanese torpedo bombers came very low over the water, presenting very difficult targets. They hit the USS Jarvis amid-ship. She was crippled but escaped around the western end of Guadalcanal. It was learned after the war that the ship was sunk the next day by more bombers and sunk with all hands aboard. The crew slept poorly that night, having been warned that a large force of enemy cruisers and destroyers were headed toward them. Their estimated speed indicated a time of arrival at 8 a.m. but all hell broke loose at 1 a.m. The foggy, drizzly night markedly reduced visibility. With the noise and confusion making it difficult to identify friend and foe, ships began to explode and burn. At first it was thought they were Japanese ships. However, as life-jacketed sailors hailed the rescue ship in English, it was learned the USS Quincey, USS Vincennes, USS Astoria and the H.M.A.S. Australia--all cruisers--had been sunk. Many others were damaged but the Japanese had not lost a ship.
Lt. McCampbell was very busy ministering to the 600 men they had picked up. With the help of another doctor who had been rescued, he treated the wounded as best he could. It was toward evening of the following day that the wounded were transferred to the transports which were escorted away by two damaged ships, the USS Chicago and the USS Patterson. His commanding officer recommended Lt. McCampbell for the Silver Star following the action off Guadalcanal. In lieu of the medal, he received a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy. He later would receive another letter of commendation for service as Chief of Surgery on the USS Consolation during the Korean War.
After he performed emergency surgery for a shipmate with acute appendicitis using only local anesthesia when the spinal anesthetics were exhausted, Surgeon McCampbell sailed aboard the Mugford for the invasion of New Guinea. On the way they aided 64 desperate-looking survivors of a crew of the Australian hospital ship, the H.S.A.S. Centurion. The ship had been torpedoed with the loss of 300 men and nurses. All the ship’s doctors were lost. They landed at Milne Bay and made other landings at Lae and Salamoa in support of the troops in small craft landing along the north coast of New Guinea. High altitude dive bombers attacked regularly each day at 10, 2 and 4, but were pretty ineffectual.
After two years aboard the destroyer, Lt. McCampbell received orders to the U.S. Naval Hospital at Portsmouth, Virginia, for a six-month surgical residency. He flew back to Los Angeles and soon found a military flight back to Tennessee to see his wife Faye and the baby daughter he had not seen for twenty-two months. After a short leave in Knoxville and a brief second honeymoon at the Mountain View Hotel in Gatlinburg, the family loaded their 1940 Ford Coupe to the hilt and departed for Portsmouth. They rented a small house, heated by a pot-bellied stove, but were glad to have housing reasonably close to the naval hospital. Dr. Bruce had responsibility for a ward that cared for 110 patients--men with hernias, appendicitis, burns, automobile injuries and many other surgical challenges. He worked from early morning to late at night.
When he completed the surgical residency, Lt. McCampbell was assigned to the Dominican Republic to serve as assistant naval attaché and to provide care for the U.S. Embassy staff and their dependents, the Marines stationed there and the crew of the Coast Guard’s four ships. He and Faye celebrated the arrival of their second child, Patricia, in November 1944. They had a chauffeur and car on call 24 hours and day and were provided a maid, a cook, a yard boy and a laundress. A major difficulty they experienced was learning all the intricacies of embassy protocol--the customs of proper seating and making duty calls on embassy personnel who ranked him. Once, then President Trujillo was a guest at some of the embassy functions. During the assignment, they saw how the Dominicans mourned when President Franklin Roosevelt died in 1945 and, later, how joyous they were when Germany surrendered in May 1945 and again when the Japanese surrendered in August 1945.
After Dr. Bruce assisted a refugee to escape from the repressive Dominican regime to Mexico, the government threatened to declare him persona non grata, but reconsidered when the American ambassador threatened to have their World Bank loan rescinded.
Toward the end of 1945, Dr. McCampbell was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and received orders to report to the Philadelphia Naval Hospital for a second residency in surgery. They found a six-room brick house within two blocks of the trolley line, which would carry him to the hospital. Consultants from the University of Pennsylvania, Jefferson, Temple and Woman’s Hospital made this an excellent residency program in general surgery, urology, neurosurgery and orthopedics.
By the fall of 1947, he was ordered to the Naval Hospital at the U.S. Marine Base at Parris Island, South Carolina. Bruce Rankin (Brankin) McCampbell, Jr. was born at Parris Island on May 27, 1948. The Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery reviewed his request for further training and arranged for a two year fellowship in surgery at the famous Cleveland Clinic.
They arrived in Cleveland in the Fall of 1949. The residency was proceeding well, but in the summer of 1950, with the beginning of the Korean War, recently promoted full Commander McCampbell was assigned to Oakland, California. The hospital’s three distinguished vascular surgery consultants made this another excellent learning experience. By the end of the first year, he was appointed assistant chief of surgery.
By August, 1951 he received orders to report for duty on the USS Consolation, a hospital ship being refitted with a flight deck for helicopters, to be sent to Korea. He was able to be present for the birth of their fourth child, Janet, on August 18. It was difficult to leave Faye alone with three small children and a new infant, but he was soon just offshore at the 38th parallel at a place called So Cho Ri on the east coast of Korea. When they received casualties directly from the battlefield by helicopter in December, 1951, they were the first ever to do so. They later were sent to the west coast to anchor in Inchon Harbor, again close to the front lines. They were often able to receive the wounded men within fifteen or twenty minutes of their injury. In one three day period, they received twelve hundred casualties, and had only three deaths, an excellent record considering that many were severely injured. The four major operating rooms on the ship were constantly busy and the surgeons often operated with only brief "cat naps" between cases.
After the tour on the USS Consolation, Commander McCampbell was assigned to the St. Albans Naval Hospital in Jamaica, Long Island, New York, as chief of general surgery. This was another learning experience as the doctor worked with a local consultant in vascular surgery and learned the technique required for aortagrams and special vascular surgery.
When the Korean War was over in October, 1953, the Navy no longer needed as many surgeons and the Commander was allowed to resign. His military compensation, including extra allowances, was $740 per month. Two positions were open, one as chief of the surgical section at Cornell University Hospital and the other as a resident in cardiac surgery at St. Francis Hospital on Long Island. Neither provided sufficient compensation for his family and he decided to look for opportunities back home in Knoxville.
In the fall of 1953, Dr. McCampbell rented two rooms in the office of a urologist on the fourth floor of the Medical Arts Building in downtown Knoxville. After the urologist died, Dr. Mark P. Fecher shared the space and the receptionist but they maintained individual practices until 1960 when they became partners--the beginning of the Knoxville Surgical Group. The general practitioners in Fountain City--Drs. Robert Brooks, Harry Ogden and Joseph Raulston--referred patients for consultation and surgery and, at the end of ten years, the doctor was grossing $50-60,000 per year, an excellent practice for the time.
Not long after their return to Knoxville, Aunt Nellie asked if they would be interested in buying the historic house Samuel Shannon McCampbell had built in 1856 next door to her house on Shannon Lane. They bought the house and occupied it until 1966, enjoying it and the surrounding acreage. Grandfather McCampbell had bought it from Louis Freymond in 1867. They renovated extensively--new hardwood floors, new wiring and plumbing and a new kitchen and bathrooms.
Dr. McCampbell had been elected President of the Knoxville Surgical Society in 1965 and Chief of Staff of St. Mary’s Hospital in 1977. Later he was asked to take the position of President of the Knoxville Academy of Medicine but declined.
In the summer of 1954, a well-known Fountain Citian, Harry Hitch, experienced sudden abdominal pain while fishing on Norris Lake. Local internist, Dr. Richard Hobart, examined him and asked for a consultation. Dr. McCampbell diagnosed a ruptured abdominal vessel. The defect was resected and replaced with a freeze-dried artery from a cadaver. The surgery had been performed in France a year earlier, but this was the first of its kind in Knoxville. Mr. Hitch did well and survived another eleven years. The miraculous surgery was well publicized in the local papers; but, in keeping with the medical ethics of the time, the physician was not identified. Other such cases of aneurysm were diagnosed and referred for surgery before they ruptured.
Over the years, several others surgeons joined the Knoxville Surgical Group. Some served a while and some joined other practices. By the 1980s there were five surgeons in the group, all board certified.
After thirty-two years in the group, Dr. McCampbell decided to retire and did so in 1985. However, he soon heard that a surgeon at the Scott County Hospital in Oneida needed to take a leave of absence. In cooperation with four local physicians, they built a nice, new office building with minor surgical facilities, an X-ray department and examining rooms--the Oneida Medical Corporation. Various specialists from Knoxville, 60 miles away, used the space and the nursing staff for a fee. The facility provided needed medical care to the community and became quite successful. Dr. McCampbell performed his operations in the nearby Scott County Hospital.
Later, when he fully retired, Dr. Bruce and Faye McCampbell moved into the Shannondale Retirement Center. As a hobby, he learned the art of creating stained glass panes and windows. Several of his elegant panels are displayed at Shannondale and others grace his church, Sequoyah Hill Presbyterian Church, and the First Presbyterian Church of Huntsville, Tennessee. This "man for all seasons" had developed the very difficult art to perfection in just a few short months.
After years of hearing his children and grandchildren ask him to "Tell Me 'Bout the Good Ole Days, Papa Bruce," he decided to write a book with that title chronicling his acquired knowledge and memories of the McCampbell clan of Scots-Irish Presbyterians who settled Knox County in the early 1800s. The 350-page hardback book also portrays his early life in Beverly and Fountain City, his school years at Smithwood and Ritta Elementary Schools and Central High School (1933 graduate), his medical education and service in the military in two wars and his subsequent career in the practice of medicine.
Having saved so many lives over his career by the surgical removal of cancerous organs from his patients, the physician himself developed cancer late in life. His gallant battle against the disease ended with his death on November 15, 1994. His services were held at Sequoyah Hills Presbyerian Church with Dr. Carson L. Salyer Jr. officiating. Full military honors preceded his interment in Greenwood Cemetery. He was survived by his wife; five daughters, Mary (Bell), Patricia (Thompson), Janet (Harper), Rebecca (Fenn) and Rachel (Ruppert); his son Bruce R. Jr.; his brother Joseph McCampbell and several grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Faye Williams McCampbell continued to live at Shannondale until her passing in November 2000. Mrs. McCampbell was a charter member of Fontanalis, a life member of the Doyle Middle School P-TA (honored for her organization of the school's clinic), a former president of the East Tennessee Toastmistress Club and of the Women's Auxiliary of the Knoxville Academy of Medicine and a member of the board of directors of the Dogwood Arts Ball for almost 20 years. She also served as a member of the board of directors of the Bachman Presbyterian Home for Boys. Her years of work in her community earned her the title "First Lady of Knoxville" in 1976.
Dr. Bruce R. and Mrs. Faye W. McCampbell left their mark in many ways in several communities through their long years of service.
Bruce R. McCampbell, Tell Me ‘Bout the Good ‘Ole Days, Papa Bruce! (Knoxville, 1993).Bruce Philip McCampbell was born October 6, 1883 and died on December 14, 1929. Mary Isabel Rankin (McCampbell) was born on October 18, 1888 and died on April 11, 1975 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Lois Reagan, "Miss Knoxville, She's a Family Girl," Knoxville News-Sentinel, May 23, 1965. (On the occasion of Patricia Lynn McCampbell's winning the title "Miss Knoxville.")
Jan Maxwell Avent, "After Finally Settling, Mrs. McCampbell Has Been Very Busy with Volunteer Work," Knoxville News-Sentinel, February 1, 1976.ibid. (McCampbell, 1993); Barbara Ashton-Wash, "Good old days chronicled in McCampbell’s book," Knoxville News-Sentinel, September 9, 1994.
"Dr. B.R. McCampbell, retired surgeon, dies," Knoxville News-Sentinel, November 17, 1994.
"Civic leader Faye McCampbell dies," Knoxville News-Sentinel, November 17, 2000.
d-mccpbl.doc (Original 9/20/02; Revised 9/24/02, 10/21/02, 10/31/02, 11/29/02, 11/30/02, 7/11/05)
Timeline at CHS:
CHS 1929-30 Freshman (80-81) Latin Lelia Pace Moore (Johnston-later)
1930-31 Sophomore French Louise VanGilder, Biology Anna Weigel, Algebra
1931-32 Junior (Football Sophomore and Junior Years)
Thank you for visiting. Return to Homepage.