Captain William (Bill) Madison Campbell died November 24 of complications following surgery. Bill was born in Granger, Texas on October 29, 1925. He was 85 years old.
Bill's career in the U.S. Navy spanned World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War for a total of 33 years of active service to his country. After leaving the Navy, he went on to forge a very successful second career as an aviation lawyer.
He worked at the family newspaper, The Frost Enterprise, at an early age but his Navy career began at the age of 17. After receiving his Navy Wings and commission as an officer, he was sent into combat in the Pacific. From 1946-1976 he served in numerous capacities as Naval Aviator in both aircraft and ship operations. He was a qualified pilot in jet fighters and bombers, helicopters, airships and transport/cargo aircraft. Captain Campbell assumed command of the USS Independence, a super carrier, during the Viet Nam War. As a senior officer, he conducted over 100 Courts Martials and Judge Advocate General Investigations concerning aircraft and ship incidents/accidents.
Before assuming command of the USS Independence, Captain Campbell was chosen as one of an elite cadre of 56 warriors to attempt a rescue of prisoners of war held by the North Vietnamese, a complicated and ambitious raid.
He also directed Naval recruiting activities for the entire United States (1969 – 1970) and was Operations Officer and Inspector General of the 8th Naval District (1971-1975).
Bill was awarded numerous medals including the Meritorious Service Commendation, the Navy Expeditionary Medal, American Campaign Medal, Victory Medal World War II, Navy Occupation Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
Bill attended numerous flight and service schools while in the Navy. He was a graduate of the University of Colorado (1960) and of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces through George Washington University in Washington D.C. (1967).
After retiring from the Navy, Bill attended South Texas College of Law in Houston where he earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence. While in law school, Bill met his wife Ana Maria Zamarripa, the love of his life. Both graduated together in 1983.
Upon graduation, Bill joined an elite team of experts investigating airplane crashes.
During this time, he continued to pursue his love of flying. He joined the Soaring Club of Houston in 1980 where he served in numerous capacities including senior chief instructor and board member.
His parents were Michael Campbell and Kathryn Fae (Hamilton) Campbell, both deceased.
Bill is survived by his devoted wife Ana Maria Zamarripa Campbell, The Woodlands, Texas; three sons Marc Frank Campbell, Austin, Texas; William Madison Campbell, Jr., Raleigh, North Carolina; and Anthony D. Campbell, Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is also survived by a brother Richard Campbell from Dallas, Texas; and a loving sister Nell Campbell Hassell from De Soto, Texas.
Visitation will be Sunday, November 28 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm with a Rosary following at 7:00 pm at Marrs-Jones-Newby Funeral Home, Bastrop, Texas.
Funeral Mass will be Monday, November 29 at 10:00am at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rockne Texas with burial following at Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery.