Remembering Jack Campbell, a founding father of Rotary Polio Survivors Action Group

An “Escondido CA North County Times” headline on Thursday July 11 2012 read:

Noted philanthropist Jack Campbell dead at 69

He will live in the hearts and minds of those privileged to know him as long as they, too, will live.  We knew him as an early pillar of the Rotary Polio Survivors Action Group while Escondido remembered him as, “a man who overcame polio to have a successful computer career and became one of Escondido’s best-known philanthropist and community leader, died Wednesday of cancer.” “Campbell was remembered Thursday as a bright and gentle problem-solver who gave generously of his time and money to Rotary International, Interfaith Community Services, Neighborhood Healthcare, Patio Playhouse, the Escondido arts center, the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA and the Downtown Business Association.” As I write this I cannot remember how Jack and I first connected.  But I remember well the first time I saw him.  It was in Chicago in 2005.  Dave Heagerty, a fellow “Red Coat” District Governor (1992-93) and Past Chairman of PSA had agreed to meet at the Rotary International 100th Birthday Convention to plan and organize the future of the Rotary Polio Survivors Fellowship.  Dave and I were waiting at the elevator door in the tiny lobby of the Burnham Hotel when, “here came Jack and Jill” rolling into our lives.  Jack was smiling his beatific smile as Jill, resplendent in her kerchief, propelled the wheelchair.  Jill’s hair had gone the way of chemo therapy but it did not take away her strength and determination.  I had launched PSA in 2003, as it was later called, in the belief that the time had come to identify polio survivors throughout the world through the expanding network of the thirty-three thousand or so Rotary clubs and perhaps assist each other in dealing with the recently recognized post-polio syndrome as well as contributing somehow to the on-going Rotary program to eradicate polio. It may have been Dave who identified Jack.  In any case we convened our first official meeting at the Convention where we were joined by Dick Schultz from the Tampa Bay FL area and Shirley Pozzuoli from Diamond Bar CA.   During this time, several of us had been lobbying the RI BdDir to strengthen the role of “service related” Fellowships.  This resulted in the announcement at Chicago the Rotary Action Groups (RAGS) would now be a recognized group in the Rotary world of service providers. Jack was our first Newsletter Editor and Webmaster.  What we lacked in numbers we tried to make up in vision, energy and enthusiasm.  He was a delight to work with.  Others who helped us survive and grow were Mike Abdalla, M.D., PDG 5320, Past RI Director, Cliff Dochterman, Past RI President, Harold Friend, M.D., PDG 6930, Joe Serra, M.D. PDG 5220, Joan Headley, Director Post-Polio International. One of the quotes in the newspaper article said, “…you would never think of him as disabled.”  Jack was not disabled.  He was a very intelligent and caring man.  He understood the role of social responsibility and he gave generously of his time, talent and money to make his part of the world a better place.  It is true that he was different because of his polio experience.  He graduated from UCLA and was a math whiz.  He had a long career with IBM from 1966 to 1981 when he started his own software company and continued until his retirement in 1995 when he and Jill moved to Escondido where they immersed themselves in organizations devoted to making it a better place to live. As we remember Jack we need not remember that his throne was a wheelchair, but that he was a man who personified the Rotary creed of service, good will and working for the benefit of all mankind.  With the help of his wife Jill they brought these goals to life.  As we say goodbye to Jack we are comforted to know that his commitment to service lives on.

– Ray Taylor, PDG 7690, Founder Polio Survivors & Associates (PSA)

One Response

  1. Your blog post, “Remembering Jack Campbell, a founding father of Rotary Polio Survivors Action Group
    | Polio Survivors & Associates” was worth commenting down here in the comment section!
    Just simply wished to state u did a remarkable work. Thank you ,Wade

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