John M Campbell
1941 ~ 2023
Captain John M Campbell, just shy of 82, died Wednesday August 2, 2023, at his home in Mendota Heights surrounded by his wife and family. John was born on September 28, 1941, in Atlanta, Georgia as the only child to Lilian Wyche and John Patrick Campbell.
John graduated from John McDonough High School in New Orleans in 1960. During his high school years John was a member of the Civil Air Patrol where he met lifelong friends. The CAP influenced and inspired John’s life-long love of flying. After high school he enrolled at Loyal University in New Orleans to major in physics.
In 1963 John enlisted in the U.S. Navy to enter the Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD) program. Toward the end of his flight training John opted for advanced rotor wing (helicopter) training. After earning his Wings of Gold, he was stationed at NAS Quonset Point in Rhode Island. There he flew SH-3A helicopters, often patrolling for Russian submarines off the East Coast of the United States during the Vietnam War. John opted to leave the active Navy in the spring of 1968 and was hired by Northwest Airlines on May 06, 1968.
During most of his NWA career John was based at MSP but opted to be based in Honolulu for three years during the mid-1990s. His first pilot assignment was a Second Officer (flight engineer) on the Boeing 720/320 series. Remarkably he only had 58 hours of multi engine time when he was hired by NWA. During his 34-year career, John also flew as S/O on the B-727, both copilot (FO) and captain (CA) on the B-757, F/O and CA on the DC-10, and CA on the B-747 classic. He completed his NWA career as a B747-400 captain. John’s last flight in 2001 involved a trip to Amsterdam flown only days after 9/11.
While still in the Navy, John married the love of his life Paula Minchak on September 10th, 1966. John and Paula moved to Minnesota for his job at NWA and are thankful for the communities of friends and neighbors they made in Cottage Grove, Mendota Heights, and Niceville, FL. John and Paula have five children. Their offspring are Heather who lives in Boston and works as a grant administrator for Beth Israel Hospital. John who is Chief Legal Counsel for MetroNet in Kansas City. (John also married a women named Paula.) They had four children Emily, Jack, Colin, and Abby. Beth who lives in Minneapolis and works in H.R. for American Express. Carrie a retired C-130 Air Force pilot and 777 pilot for American Airlines. Carrie lives in Jupiter, FL with her husband Michael and their son Charlie. Meg who lives in Los Angles and works for YouTube in their gaming division.
John and Paula spent over twenty years living part time in Niceville, FL on the water. They became a part of a close-knit neighborhood filled with retired military and commercial airline pilots. John enjoyed biking and completed several 300-mile rides in support of the MS society, camping with friends, and traveling. He loved politics, investing, computers, and physics.
John at 80 years old
Throughout his life John was known for his authenticity and willingness to follow his convictions. His greatest interests included space, physics, computers, politics, investing, bike riding and his Irish heritage. These interests were manifested through the creation of the Byte Shop in 1976, the second computer store in Minnesota; starting an investment club called Bulls and Bears and participating in the MS TRAM, the bike ride across Minnesota, six times. In 1992 he took the family on a 2-week adventure in Ireland and found his father's family in Kilcar. He was a devoted Catholic, a dedicated father, loving husband, and passionate grandfather.
A special thanks to the staff at the VA Medical Center and Synergy West St. Paul for caring for John with compassion and dignity during his final days.
We have lost a generous soul, a skilled airman, and a fine family man.
(~ Campbell family and Bill Day)