Joseph Nelson Campbell

Published 3:12 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Joseph Nelson Campbell of Smithfield passed away in his sleep at his home, after a brief illness with cancer, on Saturday, March 14, 2020.    He was the fourth of six children of Lottie May Kerns Campbell and Fred Leland Campbell.  Even though he was born in Front Royal, he always considered Portsmouth his home.  Sports were also very important to him, he was proud to make the football team at Woodrow Wilson High School his freshman year.  He graduated in 1951 after only three and a half years. He has remained lifelong friends with his high school football team members, meeting with them up until his death as part of the Gridiron Club. 

     On March 3, 1951 he married the love of his life, Mary Elizabeth Dudley.  That same year he started his career with the United States Postal Service and joined the National Guard.  

His career in the USPS was very successful, beginning in 1951 and retiring after 36 years of service in 1987.  During this service he served as postmaster in several of the largest post offices in Virginia, including Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk and finally Virginia Beach.  He was selected as one of the first candidates in the Postal Executive Corporation.

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       He was predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Mary Dudley Campbell.  Survivors include his son, Joseph Kerns “Kasey” Campbell and wife Dee Booker Campbell; a grandson, Joseph Nelson Campbell II and granddaughter, Mary Stuart Campbell Taylor and husband, Joshua Emory Taylor, all of Smithfield.   He is also survived by a special nephew, David Anthony Shea; and niece, Dudley Shea DeStefano and husband Dan DeStefano.  Joe is also survived by his brothers, Fred Leland Campbell of Nags Head, N.C., and Adolph and Mavis Campbell of Louisiana; sisters, Clara Johnson of Ohio and Cindy Holmes of Maryland.  He was an uncle and great uncle to many Campbell nieces and nephews.  

     The burial will took place March 20 at St. Luke’s Memorial Park Cemetery, Smithfield. Baker-Foster Funeral Home is handling arrangements.  In lieu of flowers, please consider making a gift to the American Cancer Society.  Due to the current circumstances in our environment, A Celebration of Life will be arranged for a later date.  Joe described himself as “Chief, Head of Efforts and Passer of all Misinformation.”  We would like to remember him as our Sunshine, he was larger than life, generous always, and a very loving man. Full obituary and condolences may be registered at