All around him, the younger set might tap away on computers, cross miles of ocean with the click of a mouse. But Clifford Howard Campen Sr. preferred an older way of staying in touch with far-flung friends and strangers: ham radio.
Mr. Campen had just finished talking to some of those friends -- an early-morning conversation that often took place from his bedroom -- when he died Feb. 2 of a heart attack. The Elkridge resident was 79.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Mr. Campen went to radio trade school while a teen-ager. He worked at the Bendix plant in Towson, fixing the crystals inside radios. Then he joined the engineering department at Westinghouse Electronics Corp., where he worked from 1948 until his retirement in 1981.
Around the time he started with Westinghouse, Mr. Campen's technical expertise led him to an interest in communicating with amateur radio. It was an interest that would make him many friends over the next 50 years.
Lately, Mr. Campen had started to listen more late at night. When he couldn't sleep, he'd find it comforting at times to tune in and find that a conversation was always going on somewhere, said his wife of 44 years, the former Jean Shenton.
Mr. Campen was a member of the vestry and Sunday school superintendent at Grace Episcopal Church in Elkridge, and he enjoyed spending time with his wife, daughter and two sons.
A memorial service is scheduled at 11 a.m. Feb. 19 at Grace Episcopal, 6725 Montgomery Road.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Campen is survived by two sons, Clifford H. Campen Jr. of Pittsburgh and Leland H. Campen of Cape St. Clair; a daughter, Sally J. Campen of Washington; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.