Tom Campbell, an experienced television newsman whose smooth delivery and personable warmth made him one of Augusta’s most popular TV anchors, died Wednesday after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 68.
“The News 12 family is saddened by the loss of Tom Campbell,” said Estelle Parsley, the vice president of news and operations at WRDW-TV. “Tom had been all over the world, but chose to make Augusta his home. His time here was a gift to us and the community he loved so much.”
Campbell, who had been with News 12 since 1995, was diagnosed with cancer a little more than a year ago.
In a career that spanned 44 years, he worked as an anchor and reporter in several cities including Tallahassee, Fla.; Columbus, Ohio; Houston and Beaumont, Texas; and San Luis Obispo, Calif.
According to WRDW, one of his first big stories was the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River, which killed 46 people.
In 1968, he covered his first of many presidential campaigns, interviewing Richard Nixon and Robert F. Kennedy, in one of the last interviews before the senator’s assassination.
In 1969, Campbell went to astronaut Neil Armstrong’s hometown to report its reaction to his walk on the moon.
Campbell reported stories across the United States and from foreign countries, spending three weeks reporting from China and twice reporting from Haiti.
A native of Delaware, Ohio, Campbell attended Ohio Wesleyan University and Ohio State University.
“Though he may be gone, Tom has left with us his mark as a journalist, a mentor and a friend,” Parsley. said “All who knew Tom are the better for it. “
Despite his illness, Parsley said Campbell maintained a reporter’s sense of factual simplicity until the end.
He recently told colleague Richard Rogers that “when the time came, he didn’t want us to say he ‘passed away’ or was ‘laid to rest’ … Just say I died and was buried,” Parsley said. “That was Tom.”
Services will be private, but memorial contributions may be made to the Golden Harvest Food Bank, 3310 Commerce Dr., Augusta, GA 30909.
Survivors include a sister, Anne Campbell McAndrew, and her husband, James, of Nantucket Island, Mass.; brother David Campbell and his wife, Denise Gray, of LaJolla, Calif.; and nieces Claire Augustus and Erin McAndrew.
Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Road, is in charge.