Ralph W. Campbell, 69, railroader for 27 years

June 16, 1998|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Ralph W. Campbell, a retired career railroader and White Marsh resident, died Saturday of complications of heart surgery at St. Joseph Medical Center. He was 69.

He began his railroading career in 1956 as a brakeman with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and moved up to freight conductor, yardmaster, terminal supervisor and, finally, trainmaster for Conrail when he retired in 1983.

"Railroading was his life," said his wife of 24 years, the former Norma Everts. "When he went blind in one eye and was forced to retire on an occupational disability, it almost killed him. He loved being on the railroad.

"Because he loved his work, I'm having all of his pallbearers be railroaders," said Mrs. Campbell.

"Railroaders have a reputation for being kind of rough, but where I was concerned, they were always gentlemen around me, especially Ralph," said Ann M. Brooks of Essex, who spent 36 years as a secretary at Conrail's Bayview Yard office.

"He shouldered a lot of responsibility over the years in his work. At Dundalk Marine Terminal, for instance, he was responsible not only for train movements but also seeing that the customer's needs were met," Mrs. Brooks said.

Born in Greenleaf, Va., near Natural Bridge, Mr. Campbell moved to Baltimore in the 1940s. After leaving high school, he went to work for the Manning Packing Co. and several other companies before becoming a part-owner of a service station.

"But he really didn't like it and when he heard that the Pennsy was hiring, he applied for a job wearing his Texaco uniform and was hired on the spot," Mrs. Campbell said.

After he retired, Mr. Campbell enjoyed visiting railroad museums and gardening. He was also active in the Penn-Central Retired Employees Association Chapter No. 5.

He attended Inverness Presbyterian Church.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Connelly Funeral Home, 300 Mace Ave. in Essex.

He also is survived by three sons, Ralph E. Campbell of Parkville, Daniel G. Campbell of Essex and Charles J. Campbell of Bel Air; a daughter, Mary Frances Page of Perry Hall; a half-brother, Michael Zimmerman of Clifton, Va.; and nine grandchildren.

Pub Date: 6/16/98

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