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James A. Campbell Sr., 80, of La Grange Park [IL], a retired volunteer fireman for the La Grange Park Fire Department and longtime volunteer at Hines Veterans Administration Hospital, died of pneumonia Saturday, Oct. 18, in Hines.

Mr. Campbell graduated from East Aurora High School, then joined the Army in the hopes of becoming a paratrooper, said his wife, Lila. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, 508th Parachute Infantry, Company I. In World War II, he parachuted into battle at Normandy, was shot and wounded. He recovered and returned to his unit in time to jump and fight in the Battle of the Bulge, where he was wounded again. He received two Purple Hearts.

He met his future wife on a blind date, proposed that day and they married 29 days later. The union lasted for 58 years. After the war, Mr. Campbell took a position in the Melrose Park Post Office Distribution Center and became postal supervisor of the bulk mail center. He retired in 1978. In 1951, he joined the La Grange Park Fire Department as a volunteer and stayed with the department for 28 years. "He really loved it. He would have stayed longer but he had to retire when he was 62," his wife said.

In 1955, Mr. Campbell was instrumental in organizing the La Grange Park Little League. "He did it just to help and because his son was playing. He hoped it would still be around when his grandchildren played, and it was," his wife said.

For the last 10 years, Mr. Campbell has volunteered as an escort in Hines Hospital, helping and talking with his fellow veterans, his wife said. "I think anybody would say that he was the kindest man who never used a bad word and would help anybody do anything," his wife said.

Other survivors include a son, James Jr.; two daughters, Kimberly Hoffenkamp and Gail Waterman; a sister, Margie Regnier; a brother, Robert; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Visitation will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Hitzeman Funeral Home Ltd., 9445 W. 31st St., Brookfield, and again from 10:30 a.m. Wednesday until the 11 a.m. service in the funeral home.

(Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, 21 Oct 2003, Page 5 - courtesy of Tedd Cocker)

(courtesy of "Jackie & Ralph")

Grave marker for James A. Campbell in Section 10 Site 751 of the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood (Will county). Illinois

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