Charles “Chick” Campbell, a teacher in the Pickerington Schools for nearly three decades, a coach and a member of the Pickerington Athletic Hall of Fame, died last week after suffering a stroke.
Condolences on social media poured in after Campbell’s death Jan. 9.
An online fundraiser for his daughters – Emma, a sophomore at Ohio University, and Bryn, a senior a Pickerington High School North and the Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools – had surpassed its $10,000 goal and raised $15,298 as Jan. 13.
Campbell, 53, was in his 29th year of teaching in the district when he suffered a stroke Dec. 31. He was health and physical education teacher at Ridgeview STEM Junior High School at the time of his death and spent much of his career coaching baseball, football and cross country at various levels.
“He was a true friend,” said Mark Aprile, Pickerington Schools director of student activities. “If Chick Campbell was your friend, that’s as good as it gets.
“He was the true definition of a friend and he had so many friends.”
Arrangements are being handled by the Dwayne R. Spence Funeral Home in Pickerington. The online obituary for Campbel says he was preceded in death by his mother, Donna Campbell.
He is survived by his daughters, Emma and Bryn; father, Fred Campbell; siblings, Marlou (Thomas) Spry, Fred Campbell II and Mary Prettyman; former spouse, Colleen McNeely; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
The obituary says Campbell requested there be no visitation and services will be private for the family. Arrangements for an open celebration of life are pending. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Lifeline of Ohio ((lifelineofohio.org). According to his biography on the district’s website, Campbell graduated from Pickerington High School in 1984 and earned 11 varsity letters while competing in football, wrestling and baseball.
He also is a member of the Pickerington Athletic Hall of Fame.
The site stated he graduated in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio Dominican College and earned his master’s degree in sports administration from Ashland University in 1994.
According to information provided by the district, Campbell earned two varsity letters in baseball at Ohio Dominican.
Upon returning to Pickerington, he served as a 20-year-old volunteer football coach for Pickerington High School in 1986, and he worked as an assistant on the football staff from 1987-98.
He was a junior high school assistant football coach from 1999 to 2002.
After working as an assistant baseball coach at the junior high and high school levels from 1990 to 1995, he took over as head coach of the varsity team in 1997.
His teams were Ohio Capital Conference champions 1997-2000, district champions in 2001 and again OCC champions in 2002.
He was varsity baseball coach at PHS North from 2003 to 2012, and served as an assistant on the North team from 2016 to 2019.
That time included the Panthers state championship run in 2016.
Most recently, Campbell was head coach of the Ridgeview girls cross country team, a job he held from 2013 through this school year.
“When I was hired by Pickerington to be (PHS) baseball coach in the 1992-93 school year, I first met Chick,” Aprile said. “He was one of my assistant coaches.
“When I stepped down to become athletic director in 1997, Chick was the first coach I hired. I hired him to take over the baseball program. He just had a great love for the game and he just had a passion for coaching.”
Aprile also coached alongside Campbell for the PHS football team from 1993 to 1996.
“I was the defensive coordinator and Chick was the linebackers coach,” Aprile said. “He had a love for the game and coaching came naturally for him.
“He was very confident about decision-making and how he wanted to accomplish things.”
Aprile laughed as he recalled a long-ago game against Newark High School in which Campbell implored him from the coaches’ box to make a player change at linebacker.
“He said, ‘Hey, I’m the position coach. I’m telling you we need to take him out,’ ” Aprile said.
“He was confident and it worked.”
North principal Mark Ulbrich said Cambell was well loved throughout the community and touched lives through sports, teaching and his friendships.
“Chick certainly was somebody that has impacted not only the Pickerington Schools system, but the Pickerington community in many ways,” Ulbrich said, adding on Twitter that Campbell was a “true Pickerington icon.”
Ridgeview principal Eric Koch said Campbell “had a great impact in so many buildings in the district.”
Prior to Campbell’s death, the staff at Pickerington High School Central, PHS North and Ridgeview posted photos wearing red to promote stroke awareness.
Koch said despite the tragedy of Campbell’s death, he hoped the incident would encourage people to learn more about the signs of strokes.
More information about strokes can be found at the American Stroke Association’s website, stroke.org.
“Mr. Campbell has always worked in Pickerington,” Koch said. “He’s a Pickerington guy through and through.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time.”