Dorothy Jean Campbell
November 4, 1927 - August 14, 2016
Dorothy Jean Boyd Campbell was born on November 4, 1927 in Richland, Arkansas. She passed away August 14, at her new home, provided by her beloved Granddaughter Shawna Lea Jennings and husband James Jennings. Born to Father, Jessie Boyd and Mother, Allie Hardin; she was one of 8 siblings. She spent her early years traveling in an overloaded jalopy between Arkansas and California with her family, living the nomadic farming life so aptly described by John Steinbeck in “ The Grapes of Wrath.”
Her life abruptly changed at age 11 due to the death of her Mother during childbirth in Marysville, CA. Dorothy returned to Arkansas, living with her Aunt Lula and Uncle Bob Boyd on their farm. Aunt Lula provided a lovely home for Dorothy but she missed the friends her family had worked for in California . She obtained reluctant permission from Uncle Bob, leaving Hindsville on the back of a Milk Truck at age 13. Mom never looked back and was independent for the rest of her life.
Dorothy spent her high school years living with and working as a nanny for the Sullivan family in Marysville, CA. She loved the family as her own and became very close to Loise Sullivan, who introduced her to nice things. A highlight of her time there were the parties that Loise helped her host for her high school friends. She never forgot the lessons learned there, including how to use silverware correctly.
After high school, Dorothy moved to San Jose where she worked full time and attended San Jose State. She spent many a happy hour butting heads with Harland Smith while she worked in his family’s Creamery. Up until the last few years, Dorothy continued to trade yearly visits with friends Harland and Jackie Smith. While in San Jose she enjoyed her stint selling and dressing windows for Mr. Stern at Stern’s Department Store. She spent her leisure time sunbathing with her friends on the beaches of Santa Cruz.
Dorothy moved to Portland, OR in the early 1950’s, meeting many interesting people during her stint as a hostess for the Jolly Roger Restaurant. She relocated to Salem in 1954, working at the Department of Labor and creating her new life on Warner Street. She soon changed employers, working for the Air National Guard until her retirement in 1989, at its Headquarters in the old Linen Mill in the Hollywood District.
During her 36 year career at the Military Department, Dorothy made friends that she has to the present day. She and her friends pulled together to work long hours during the Columbus Day Storm and later the great Christmas Flood. After work, they hosted dinner parties in their homes on a regular basis. She enjoyed many backyard barbecues in the summer months with friends Albert Braun and Mavis Rickert. Albert always made his famous pepper steak and was the first in the neighborhood to have a hibachi.
When her daughter Deborah was born, she made the acquaintance of Bessie P. Bell, a recently widowed neighbor from down the street, Bessie became a second mother to her and took care of Deborah while she worked. Dorothy became a close friend of Grandma Bell’s daughter,Rosemary, becoming part of their extended family. This relationship continued for all of us to the present day.
On lunch hours, Dorothy would spend her time scouring the numerous thrift stores surrounding the Military Department, initially shopping for furnishings for her home and the homes of her coworkers and her signature designer clothes. She was probably the only person in the office sporting clothes by Lilli Ann and other famous designers of the day. When asked where she got her beautiful clothes, she would reply with a mischievous smile and a non-answer. After a chance encounter at St. Vincent’s thrift store with best friend and junking partner, Jane Earle, she discovered that she could supplement her income selling items purchased second hand.
Her passion to sell, which began at Stern’s in San Jose, was finally fulfilled in the 1970’s when she became a vendor at Haley’s Flea Market at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. She continued vending for 30 years retiring from Salem Collectors Market in 2000. Dorothy quickly became an institution at the Polk Flea Market, helping her daughter by taking admission at the front table until this February. About the same time, she became a vendor in the Little Antique Mall. Over the years she became a fixture greeting customers as they walked in the lower level—befriending and sharing confidences with Mall staff.
Dorothy was an involved, loving mother. Always taking time off work to attend parent teacher conferences or to check on her daughter when she was home sick. She introduced Deborah to a life of faith, as a young child, by joining Grace Lutheran Church. Deborah attended Sunday school every Sunday and later participated in Luther League activities. Dorothy was a tireless volunteer at the church, acting as church secretary for several years and doing hundreds of dishes after church dinners. Each year she ensured her daughter was able to attend Camp Silver Creek and Camp Luther, eagerly awaiting the occasional letter.
During the early 1960’s she returned to visit friends in California and take her daughter on a cherished trip to Disneyland. She was surprised to discover her beloved sister Edna was living in Portland with her family. Dorothy and her daughter spent many happy days visiting Edna and her daughter Shirley. In later years she was excited to visit England, accompanying Jane Earle’s daughter-in-law Sami on an antique buying trip. For her granddaughter Shawna’s high school graduation gift, Dorothy booked the family on a life-changing 3 week trip to Russia led by travel agent friend Jackie Opitz and her husband Bud. In later years she spent many a happy hour chatting with her niece Earlene Birdsong.
Dorothy was untiring in her love and support of her daughter Deborah Lynn and granddaughter Shawna Lea. She was always at our side when we were sick or in need of a listening ear. Education was very important to her. She beamed at the graduation of her daughter Deborah in 1980 from Portland State University. Dorothy spent many Sundays at Haley’s Flea Market, with Shawna at her side, selling linens and costume jewelry, so that Shawna was able to obtain her degree as a Registered Nurse without any debt. She gave unconditional love to her great granddaughter Jolene Lynn Jennings, born in 2012.
Dorothy is survived by her daughter Deborah Lynn Thomas and son-in-law John D. Thomas Jr.; granddaughter Shawna Lea Jennings and her husband James Arl Jennings; great granddaughters Jolene Lynn Jennings, Audrey Olsen, Candice Olsen, and Elizabeth Thomas and great grandson J.D. Thomas; niece Virginia Earlene Boyd; siblings Dixie Boyd and Dewey Boyd. She was preceded in death by siblings Dora Tennessee Boyd McReynolds, Andrew Jackson Boyd, Edna Boyd Campbell and James Lee Boyd. Dorothy is also survived by her dear friends Marianne Fish, Marius “Bud” Opitz and Jacqueline Smith ; second family Karen Beahm, Melissa Mercer and Geoffrey Berg; and “adopted” Son Roger Grider. She was preceded in death by dear friends Jane Earle, Margaret Latham, Mavis Rickman and Albert Braun. Our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Keith White, Dr. Jennifer Nearing, Dr. James Lowry, and Dr. Rafiq Amir for the compassionate medical care provided to all of us during Mom’s last weeks. To the caring, hardworking staff at Senior Helpers, great-grandson J.D. Thomas, Bobbie Jennings OTR/L and family friend Angie - we would not have been able to care for Mom without you.
A celebration of life service will be held 3:00 p.m. Saturday, September 10, 2016 at Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service, 605 Commercial St. SE, Salem, OR 97301