Don Campbell was born in Warren in 1949, attended McKinley Elementary School, Harry B. Turner Junior High and graduated from Warren G. Harding in 1967. At Harding Don was a very good football player and an even better student.
He played football despite having had very serious back surgery in 10th grade. He worked like a demon to rehabilitate his back so that he could fulfill his dream of being a Warren Black Panther.
His success in the classroom and on the football field took him to Hiram College where he continued his athletic and academic careers. It was in the classroom where his long term potential for a successful life was most obvious. He had a near-photographic memory and was a highly disciplined student. He routinely challenged himself with the toughest courses and earned academic honors.
If this makes him sound like a grinder it must be added that Don had a highly developed social life too. He made friends easily and had many of them. He joined a social club at Hiram and could always be counted on to be at the center of the fun.
He was staying at his family’s home on Maplewood for the Christmas break in 1969 when late on Christmas Eve a fire broke out on the first floor of the house. Both Don and his parents had bedrooms on the second floor. The fire raged fiercely and quickly engulfed the home. Don and his parents Don and Peggy were all killed in the blaze. Firemen found young Don’s body in his parent’s bedroom where he had obviously been trying to help them escape.
Most of us live a lifetime and never know a true hero. Don Campbell was a hero, but we will never know what else he might have accomplished in life with his special skills and determination.