William Lee “Bill” Campbell, 95, died September 27, 2019

William Lee “Bill” Campbell, 95, of St. Joseph died Friday, September 27, 2019 at the Hanson Hospice Center. Arrangements have been entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel.

Bill was born on April 7, 1924 in St. Joseph, MI to George and Katherine (Upton) Campbell. He attended Lake Forest Academy in IL. He continued his education by earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Michigan University.

On November 5, 1945, Bill married Mickey Williams of Benton Harbor. They had a son John, and a daughter Ann Campbell-Hays.

Bill started his career as a teacher at Edwardsburg High School, where he was also the first football coach and led the team to a championship win. Bill relocated to Paw Paw High School, where he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame for coaching the 1956 championship football team. He finished his career as sales manager for Shepherd Products in St. Joseph.

His lifetime love of sailing started at an early age on Lake Michigan, which was always his favorite venue. Bill was one of the first sailing instructors at the St. Joseph Junior Foundation. For most of his adult life he supported the foundation, serving on the Board of Directors for many years. His sailing legacy continues there as an honorary board member.

He and Mickey were active members of the St. Joseph River Yacht Club, where he served a term as Commodore. Bill sailed all over the world until he was 92 years old. For many years, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean on board a cargo ship that carried the sailboat to destinations that included Sardina, Italy. He participated annually in the Chicago to Mackinaw race for 35-45 years.

Known to many friends as “Soup,” (Campbell’s) Bill enjoyed playing tennis with Mickey at the Southshore Racquet Club. They were avid downhill skiers traveling in winters to Colorado. In later years, Bill spent winters in Jacksonville, FL with daughter Ann and her family. He is survived by three grandchildren, Sarah, Alex and Will Campbell Hays.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; son; brother, Don; and sister, Margie Phemister.

A Celebration of Life gathering will be held from 2 PM until 3 PM with a service at 3PM on Thursday, June 11, 2020 at Starks & Menchinger Chapel, 2650 Niles Rd., St. Joseph, with the celebration continuing at the St. Joseph River Yacht Club following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be sent to St. Joseph Junior Foundation, P.O. Box 585, St. Joseph, Michigan 49085 or Hanson Hospice Center, 4382 Cleveland Avenue, Stevensville, Michigan 49127. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at www.starks-menchinger.com. 

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