James O. Campbell


Posted: Sunday, January 08, 2006

Prominent Alaskan James O. Campbell died Monday, Jan. 2, 2006, in Anchorage. He was 73.

A visitation was held at Evergreen Memorial Chapel in Anchorage on Friday, Jan. 6. Memorial services were held at First United Methodist Church in Anchorage on Friday with a reception following at the church.

Mr. Campbell, born June 18, 1932, in South Dakota, had a career in Alaska that spanned more than four decades . He was the first chairman of the Alaska Railroad Corp., from 1984-88. From 1977-86 he served as chairman of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council. He was appointed by President George Bush to the Arctic Research Commission in 1992.

Mr. Campbell first saw Alaska while he was stationed here as a sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1953-55. He graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 1957 and managed a retail yard for the Boise Cascade Corp. until 1959, when he returned to Alaska to manage Spenard Builders Supply. By the time he retired from SBS as president and CEO in 1985, he’d built the company into one of Alaska’s largest.

From 1991-94, as president and CEO of Alaska Commercial Co., Mr. Campbell led Alaska’s largest Native-owned retail enterprise to profitability.

Mr. Campbell served on the Anchorage City Council and Borough Assembly from 1969-76 and was a candidate for governor in 1990 and 1994. He was a member of the Pioneers of Alaska and the board of directors for the Alaska Commercial Company, McDonald Industries, Alaska Detroit Diesel, National Bank of Alaska and the Arctic Research Commission.

He also was a member of Alaska Airlines and Wells Fargo community advisory boards and served as president of the Anchorage Businessmen’s Association and Greater Anchorage Credit Association; chairman of the Greater Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and Anchorage School District Citizens Budget Advisory Committee.

Mr. Campbell contributed his leadership to numerous other organizations, including the Alaska Western Retail Lumbermen’s Association; Operation Breakthrough (Municipal Unification); National Alliance of Businessmen, Alaska Chapter; Anchorage Boys Club, Citizen’s Ad Hoc Tax Review Commission; Anchorage Arts Council, Fishery Management Foundation, and Arctic Power (ANWR)

He was a recipient of the National Retailer of the Year Award from the Brand Names Foundation, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Gold Pan Award, the Outstanding Contribution Award from the Anchorage Arts Council, the Boys Club Man of the Year Award and the William Egan Alaskan of the Year Award from the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce.

He is survived by his wife, Kelly, of Anchorage; son and daughter-in-law, Dirk and Kari, of Anchorage; daughter and son-in-law, Stacy and Jeff, of Sterling; grandchildren, Nic, Becky, Cassandra (Cassi), and Colton; and his sister, Beverly Ellis Gilliland, of Tucson, Ariz.

The family requests contributions be made to the Jim Campbell Memorial Scholarship Fund through Wells Fargo Bank.

Arrangements were made by Evergreen Memorial Chapel in Anchorage.

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