Amy Strohm Campbell
Feb 20, 1918 - Nov 29, 2016
Amy Strohm Campbell
Feb 20, 1918 - Nov 29, 2016
The Joyful Life of Amy Strohm Campbell
Amy Strohm Campbell floated into the loving arms of a roomful of heavenly angels on November 29, 2016 at 8:10 p.m. that were all dressed in glowing white. They were singing and stood with Northern Lights of multi colors shooting out from behind them. A faint smile was on her face as Amy joined all her family and friends that went to Heaven before her. She had described what she was seeing before she left this earth to her daughter, her minister, and a few friends in her bedroom at The Parkway Chateau.
Amy Strohm Campbell was born to Albert and Raye Strohm at home in Chicago on Feb. 20, 1918 because she came too fast for her mother to reach a hospital. She lived in Chicago until 1951 and always considered the Windy City her home, no matter where she lived, and because of her marriage to her second husband, Amy Campbell lived many places as the wife of a U.S. Marine Corps officer. She always walked fast and drove fast and talked fast for the rest of her life. Amy floated to heaven with a choir of angels and lights radiating behind them like the Northern Lights on November 29, 2016 after a long series of short illnesses.
Amy Strohm Campbell was reading the hardcover book titled, Chicago: The History of Its Reputation by Lloyd Lewis and Henry Justin Smith one week before she fell ill as she sat beside her pet gray and white cat Cloud.
Amy graduated with a M.A. in reading education from Northwestern University in 1940 at a time when many women never attended college let alone received advanced degrees. Her B.A. was in elementary education from National University in 1937. Her first love was architecture and was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright but her mother told her no proper woman would EVER be allowed to practice as an architect and only proper women were either secretaries, teachers, or nurses, so she picked teaching. Amy was the kind of teacher that inspired children and years after leaving her job as a first and second grade teacher, grown students would work to find her and thank her for being their teacher. Shortly after earning her M.A., Amy was selected to work as the reading specialist for Rand McNally Publishers of Chicago educational books division, but she turned down this advancement to marry her second husband and retired from the workforce.
She married her first husband Bob Noran, in 1937 but he died from injuries sustained in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II after a building fell on him. She met Bob at a youth group dance when she was 15 and immediately fell in love. They dated throughout high school in Chicago and he finally convinced her to marry him moments after she received her B.A. Back in 1937 teachers were not allowed to be married so she hid her marriage to Bob and worked for two years in Michigan from 1937 to 1939 to gain enough experience to work at her favorite elementary school in Evanston called Orrington School where she taught from 1939 to 1951. She traveled by bus every Friday night back to Chicago to be with Bob in their tiny apartment and returned to Michigan Sunday night to be at work Monday morning. After Bob’s death in 1944 she remained in Chicago and lived with her parents, two unmarried aunts Monie and Helen and her unmarried brother Jack to pool finances.
Amy was introduced to her future second husband Frederick Hollister Campbell in 1950 by the parent of one of her students, Content Mottsmith, at a square dance and married on April 14, 1951 in a civil ceremony at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina where Fred was stationed as a young officer in charge of training the troops during the Korean War. On July 15, 1952 she and Fred became the parents of their only child, Susan Hollister Campbell who they always called Suzi. Fred was deployed to Korea for more than two years, so Amy returned to Chicago while Fred was overseas.
Since Fred was a Marine Corps officer who moved around the country every nine months, Amy decided to set aside her teaching career to become a full-time mom and officer’s wife, two jobs she loved with all her heart and found exciting. Amy and Fred always wanted many more children but were never able to have them so she poured all her talents as a teacher into her daughter, and her daughter truly enjoyed learning everything from her, including singing and dancing. Wearing silly socks, carrying on conversations with total strangers, and laughing a lot were other talents Amy taught her daughter.
After 25 years, 2 months and 17 days in the U.S. Marine Corps, Fred Campbell who was one of 46,000 men that served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, he and Amy moved from his last tour of duty in Washington, D.C. where he worked as a lawyer for the Judge Advocate General (JAG) at the Navy Yards and relocated to where Fred wanted to live — Colorado Springs, Colorado, facing Pikes Peak in December of 1968 during Christmas break from high school for Suzi. Fred opened his private law practice, and Amy became active in the Navy-Marine Corps Wives, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and PEO (Philanthropic Educational Organization). Later in life after moving to Missoula, Amy became life members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion Auxiliaries to help her daughter with Suzi’s many veteran projects such as Santa Socks, Thanksgiving Turkey Express, Flag Day, Memorial Day, Never Forget Service on September 11, Cupid’s Army on Valentine’s Day, Firecracker Brigade on 4th of July, and Easter Bunny Hop on Easter as part of the United Veteran’s Council of Missoula and Ravalli Counties. Amy was elected president of PEO several times in her Colorado Springs and California chapters and was active in her DAR chapters in Colorado Springs and Missoula.
Fred and Amy with other friends founded two Presbyterian churches in Colorado Springs and one Presbyterian church in Tustin, California, and enjoyed dances at the Penrose Room of the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs. For 43 years of their 61-year marriage until Fred’s death on December 27, 2011 at 89-1/2 years, Amy Campbell enjoyed all aspects of life in Colorado Springs and the sunsets and sunrises over Pikes Peak. After moving to Missoula she often commented that the sunrises and sunsets over Lolo Peak reminded her of Pikes Peak but Lolo Peak was shorter like herself, and then she would laugh. After all, Amy started out 4 feet, 11 inches and ended up 4 feet, 7 inches so she was definitely shorter.
Each summer from the age of 5 until their first jobs as teenagers, grandsons John, Hollister, and Richard Reneau would split their summers between the Reneau and Campbell grandparents and fly to stay with Amy and Fred in Colorado Springs where Amy, known as Nani, would take the boys to national parks, tourist traps, parks, restaurants, and everything you can imagine that would be fun for little boys. Their memories of Nani taking them on Colorado adventures and around the West will forever be imbedded in their minds for as long as they live, and they credit Nani as one of the reasons for the men and fathers they are today.
Amy decided to join her daughter and her husband Jack in Missoula, Montana on April 27, 2012 where she lived in a Holiday apartment complex called Grizzly Peak. When Suzi needed to go to Seattle hospitals for various medical treatments, Amy decided to join Suzi and picked Parkway Chateau in Bellingham, Washington as the place to transfer her residency, so she could be close to Suzi AND enjoy Holiday living. In April of 2016 Amy moved into the Parkway Chateau that is about one hour from Harborview Hospital where Suzi goes for various medical treatments. Amy was known at the Chateau for her long flowing skirts and matching colorful cotton tops with matching pearls and other jewelry that she and Suzi selected to cover up her many medical tubes later in life and make her appearance gracious and elegant. She was a lady to the end.
Amy immediately became the hit of Bean Bag Baseball as the best cheerleader and one of the best bridge players each Tuesday and Saturday. She ate almost every meal with Virginia, Beverly, and Gloria and enjoyed many trips up and down Mount Baker with Suzi as well as trips to feed seagulls at the Alaska Ferry Station and other highlights of the Bellingham community. She joined the Whatcom County Symphony and Music Guild, and enjoyed many bus trips on the Chateau tour bus to various spots, especially when they stopped for ice cream . . . chocolate for her, of course. One precious moment was a formal high tea party in Amy’s apartment with her friends Virginia, Gloria, Helen and Jo and hosted by herself and her daughter Suzi complete with tiny tea sandwiches, special teas and mini cakes. Amy served the tea in her great, great grandmother’s tea cups belonging to Helen Clark.
Suzi Reneau shared her love of the San Juan Mountains, Mount Baker, and the Bellingham Bay along with all the sights around the Seattle area with Amy, and Amy in turn shared her enthusiasm for life with everyone. Suzi is quick to say that her lively and young at heart mom helped her, and Suzi helped her mom as they both slogged through medical appointments to make their life better. Throughout Amy’s stay at the Chateau she became close to her precious caregivers Amanda, Dinah and Kamalla that showed love all the time to her and still missed Erma when Erma moved from the area.
When Amy’s Chicago Cubs won the World Series in October 2016 and Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States on November 8, 2016, Amy Campbell knew all was good with the world. She also knew all was good when her three handsome grandsons, John, Hollister and Richard came for visits just before she became ill, and she saw her great grandson Porter Barrett and great granddaughter Mary Elizabeth at the Chateau in recent weeks as her health faded. Throughout it all, Amy Campbell loved life and shared that love with everyone, right down to the cheerleading pom-poms and crowns she wore at Bean Bag Baseball each week. All of us will see Amy’s dancing fingers as she taps out songs and sings along with musicians at the Chateau or at the symphony. Just before her death she exclaimed to her daughter and son-in-law and caregiver Amanda that she saw a choir of angels around her and was amazed at their beauty. God knew this lady needed a full choir of happy and loving escorts to his Home for all eternity to be at peace and free of pain.
Amy is the mother of Susan Hollister Campbell Reneau and her husband Jack of Missoula, Montana, grandmother of three grandsons, John of Blaine, Washington, Hollister of Brooklyn, New York, and Richard Reneau of Missoula, Montana, daughters-in-laws Tana (John) and Regan Reneau (Richard), great grandson Porter Barrett Reneau (John and Tana), great granddaughter Mary Elizabeth Reneau (Richard and Regan), step great grandmother to Ryker, great grandmother to five foster children, aunt to Alice Wonsowski of Scottsdale, Arizona and Charles and Fran Strohm of Downers Grove, Illinois, and their children, and many cousins.
A joyful celebration of Amy Campbell’s will take place at the Bellingham Parkway Chateau at 2818 Old Fairhaven Way in Bellingham, Washington with Minister Mark Jordan officiating on Epiphany, January 6 starting at 2 p.m. with refreshments in the atrium. On Monday, December 12 a celebration of life took place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the American Legion hall, 825 Ronan Street in Missoula, Montana with Susan Campbell Reneau officiating. This was potluck so many yummy dishes were brought to share along with memories of Amy. The United Veteran’s Council that Amy supported in life with her countless hours of volunteering provided the roast beef and ham.
Burial will take place with her husband’s ashes at Arlington National Cemetery in the spring, sometime around their wedding anniversary, which was April 14. They will be buried beneath the statue of Iwo Jima, a battle that Fred Campbell fought in during World War II as a platoon sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps before he was selected to become an officer during the Korean War. The ceremony there will include 96-piece band and black horses with riding boots placed backwards in the saddle. A graveside Presbyterian service will be conducted by a military chaplain assigned from Fort Myers at Arlington National Cemetery.
Amy will also be buried with her beloved pets Jean Claude and Angel.
Amy Campbell loved greeting cards so if friends and family wish to send cards they may do so by sending them to Moles Funeral Home, 2465 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham, WA 98229. Memories about Amy can be posted on Moles’ website, too, at www.molesfarewelltributes.com but Amy didn’t own a computer and never liked computers, so please send REAL cards with REAL handwritten notes as a comfort to her family and for her scrapbook since she didn’t know about FACEBOOK, Twitter, or email.
Celebration Of Life
- Date & Time: Aug 23, 2019 (No Time)
Venue: American Legion
Location: 825 Ronan St Missoula, MT 59801
- Phone Number: -