Spencer Clark Campbell entered heaven on Monday, Oct. 19, 2009, surrounded by family, after a 14-year battle with heart disease.
Spencer was born March 24, 1940, to Orville Clark (Jack) and Irene Alda Campbell, at Miller, S.D. He was the fourth of seven children born to their union. He was raised on the farm in Hand County with the love of a large extended family and spent many hours with his Grandma Kane and Grandma Campbell, eating fresh strawberries and oranges and enjoying their company.
When Spencer was 9 years old, his father passed away suddenly from diabetes. While this was a difficult time for the family, they were determined to stay together. The close family bond between Irene Campbell and Lloyd and Josie Campbell that would last for eternity was cemented during this time. Spencer's cousins, Don, Delmer, Milton, Anna, Ruth and Millard, became his brothers and sisters. Spencer and his siblings rode horses 21/2 miles to attend school in a one-room schoolhouse. This was a time for mischief and adventure. The Campbell kids grew up spending time spotlighting jackrabbits, pheasant hunting, running trap lines for mink and muskrats and creating their own adventures, but also learned the ways of the Lord during their many hours in church.
Spencer accepted the role of caretaker and provider from an early age when he quit school at the age of 14. He worked on many farms as a youth, including Dearborn Ranch, Hines Ranch and Pangburn Ranch. The proceeds from his weekly labor allowed him to purchase a can of No. 2 peaches and a half gallon of vanilla ice cream for the family; one dollar of spending money for himself; and the rest for his mother to cover family expenses.
It was while Spencer was working for Robert Pangburn that he met the love of his life, 13-year-old Lorna Mins. They would marry two days after her high school graduation and shared 47 wonderful years together. They made their home at the ""home place"" while Spencer worked construction on Big Ben Dam in Fort Thomas, S.D., for one year before moving to Chambers, Neb.
After three years in Nebraska, they moved to Clarkston, where Spencer continued employment working construction on the dams. Over the next 11 years, he worked on Little Goose, Lower Granite, Dworshak and Libby dams. It was during this time that he contributed to the historical markers of working on the last dam built in South Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington. In his years of construction work, he was nicknamed ""Red"" for his bright red hair. In 1977, Spencer obtained employment at Potlatch Corp., and worked there until his retirement in 2000, due to heart disease.
Horses were always a part of Spencer's life. He taught all of his children and grandchildren to ride and did everything possible to make sure they had a horse of their own. He had been a member of the Lewis-Clark Saddle Club for the past 50 years, participating in many O-Mok-Sees and horse events. Spencer loved a good horse race!
Spencer had many other hobbies, including driving his tractor, driving ponies, pheasant hunting, ranching and storytelling, but most of all he enjoyed spending time with his many grandchildren. Spencer loved watching them participate in their many activities, no matter what it was. Spencer had a caring spirit and helped anyone he could. He gave generously of his home, time and love to his family and friends, and was a foster parent to more than 50 children.
He was preceded in death by his parents; aunt and uncle Josie and Lloyd Campbell; brothers LeRoy and Dale Campbell; cousins Don and Delmer Campbell; nephew George Campbell; great-niece Toni Rediger; and son-in-law Brian Prior.
Survivors include his wife, Lorna Campbell; daughter Lesa Milburn of Kamiah; daughter and son-in-law Kamme and Rick Hust of Clarkston; son Jason Campbell of Clarkston; daughter and son-in-law Kopper and Paul Blunt of Clarkston; sister-in-law Donna Campbell of Harrisburg, Ore.; sister-in-law Sharon Campbell of St. Lawrence, S.D.; sister and brother-in-law Valoris and Larry Hewitt of Beaver Creek, Ore.; brother and sister-in-law Garland and Karen Campbell of Crestview, Fla.; brother and sister-in-law Gary and Betty Campbell of Cottonwood; sister and brother-in-law Velma and Gordon Bennett of Austin, Texas; brother-in-law and wife Boyd and Tootie Mins of Texas; brother-in-law and wife Don and Linda Mins of Lexington, Neb.; brother-in-law and wife Ron and Sharon Mins of Miller, S.D.; sister-in-law and husband Linda and Roy Arnzen of Greencreek; and their families. He is survived by cousins Melva Campbell of Lolo, Mont., Milton and Jeanette Campbell of Clarkston, Anna and Pete Kauffman of McPherson, Kan., Ruth McCoy and Jeff Eagan of Allen, Texas, Millard and Connie Campbell of Venice, Fla., and their families. Spencer was blessed with 23 grandchildren: Luke and Micah Milburn, Leah and Josiah Dickson, Jerica, Shayla, Savannah and Keyonna Hust, Cameron Auker, Bethany, Spencer, Benjamin, Jessica, Maliik and Nathaniel Prior, Jayce and Jayden Campbell, Caleb, DePaul, Koby, Dawson, Kameron and Zaid Blunt and Jason Mack; one great-grandchild, Andrew Dickson; and numerous nieces and nephews who greatly valued his caring and generous spirit and came to know him as ""Uncle Penny."" Spencer also leaves behind his trusted companion, Pard, his dog.
A viewing will be at 7 p.m. today at Merchant Funeral Home in Clarkston. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Guy Bennett Pavilion in Asotin, followed by a graveside service at Vineland Cemetery in Clarkston. A covered-dish dinner at the pavilion will follow the graveside service.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Lewis-Clark Saddle Club tractor fund, Asotin County Little League or Special Olympics in his name.