William (Bill) Campbell Colleague and Peanut Specialist Passes

Sun sets on the Belltower under a crisp blue fall sky.

Black and white photo of William CampbellWilliam “Bill” Campbell passed away on December 1, 2021, at the age of 97. Bill was born in Chester, South Carolina in 1924 and graduated from Maury High School in Norfolk, Va. He volunteered for military service two days after graduation and served in the military during World War II and landed in Normandy during the D-day invasion. He spent the next three years serving his country in the European theater of operations.

After the war, he attended the University of Virginia, Mississippi State University and North Carolina State University, where he received his PhD in 1958. Bill was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Gamma Sigma Delta, and Sigma XI. He became a faculty member of the Entomology Department at North Carolina State University and his research focused on host plant resistance to insects and agricultural pest management.  He published numerous scientific papers and book chapters. His research was focused on North Carolina, but he built large and highly successful peanut research programs in Thailand and the Philippines. Bill was instrumental in developing an insect resistant peanut cultivar, NC 6. He was a member of Entomology Society of America, S.C. Entomological Society and the American Peanut Research and Education Society and was elected a “Fellow” of that society.  His research solved many pest management problems for farmers in North Carolina and beyond and he trained numerous graduate students who went on to make significant contributions to science and society. He retired from North Carolina State University in 1989 and became a Professor Emeritus in 1990.  Bill was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, charter member of the World War II Museum, and a member of the Raleigh Optimist Club.

In many ways, Bill’s greatest contributions went well beyond his role as a scientist.  He and his wife, Dorothy (“Dot”) enjoyed square dancing and outdoor activities, traveling, and social opportunities.  As a couple, they were perhaps best known for their love and concern for others and their “big hearts”.  They never met a stranger and over the years they “adopted” many families and individuals which enriched everyone’s lives. Bill would often claim that the song “My Way” by Frank Sinatra was his song and over the years, he and his wife showed a remarkable vision for that philosophy.  Bill was truly a role model of the “Greatest Generation” and a great citizen of his community.

Bill adored his five grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.  He is survived by his daughter, Patricia “Trish” Sheppard of Beaufort NC.   Bill was predeceased by his wife, Dorothy “Dot” Gallagher Campbell and son, David Byron Campbell.


Rick Brandenburg

Dept of Entomology and Plant Pathology