Letter to the editor: Campbell tribute

To the editor:

With the recent passing of one of Lawrence’s most enduring, endearing residents, I uncovered a tribute I wrote in 2003 for a class assignment while at KU. Like many other fortunate KU students, I found part-time employment in the downtown Lawrence small business Winfield House. My employers later became my friends.

Many things have impressed me about Win and Linda Campbell, who met in junior high and raised a family in Lawrence. Their sheer survival as merchants in downtown Lawrence for nearly 40 years is evidence of their grit and business savvy. Successful small businesses are rare; successful people seem even more so. They are both. Like large oak trees that have grown up in the soil of one community, their roots have spread while providing a sheltering presence to countless others. They care about the same growth of their city and the delicate balance between its diverse constituencies. They stay informed. They speak their minds. They vote. Over those years, they have provided employment for college students; as one, I earned tuition money but I also found a place of connection as a newcomer in town.

In this country, where public policy seems so abstract, Win and Linda personalized the concept of community for me. In this one couple, I see a microcosm of our culture; just as the small business is the building block of our economy, the family is the building block of a good society. I see how it is possible to balance an ethical business life and community.

We will truly miss you, Win Campbell.