Michigan Phyl Campbell (Matteson) wanted to write something about her father, the late Phil Campbell. Michigan Phyl was an attendee at the I'm with Phil Phil Campbell Convention.
I am Michigan Phyl Campbell Matteson. In 1995 my Mom and I came to the Phil Campbell Convention representing my father, Michigan Phil Campbell, whom we had lost. The rest of the Phil’s unexpectedly and graciously accepted me as one of them. I’m honored to include Dad in these stories.
I couldn’t begin bonding with Dad until I was 2. He had been away because of the war. Since I can only show one picture of him, I have made an album accessible at this link. We lost Dad at the relatively early age of 62. He worked himself too hard. He did excavation work from dawn til dark, then fixed his equipment far into the night. Later he worked heavy equipment for the DOT. He was an impish character, spreading chuckles as went along. He had a twinkle in his eye letting you know he was most always up to something. He could do everything and fix anything. He was the one everyone called when they needed help, and he would come galloping to the rescue, riding his old Nellie-belle Jeep. I’m smiling remembering a terrible storm one night blowing our new second story wall out horizontally. In a cloud of dust, he was instantly on the scene, lassoed it, reeled it in and tied it to the chimney. He made impossible things look easy.
Family was important to Dad. He was from a huge one that struggled to survive through the depression. We spent Sundays tracking down long lost backwoods relatives. I have images in my mind of shacks where chickens walked around on the kitchen table……barnyards full of stinging nettles setting us on fire…..a scary looking lady propped in a corner who had no legs……
In later years, a fall caused him to lose most the use of both arms. After that, he used his ingenuity with hydraulic lifts and such, to single handedly build a retirement home for him and Mom. His heart never healed after the loss of my brother in Viet Nam. He dedicated himself as the best Grandfather ever. I can’t tell you how he would have relished being a member of the “Phils”. He would have been the first to skid into Phil Campbell dragging his homemade trailer full of tools, when the little town was stricken. I’m so sorry the rest of the Phils missed out knowing my Dad.