In Memory

John "Bear" "Jack" Campbell

John Bear Jack Campbell


Mr. John E. “Jack” AKA “Bear” Campbell, age 91, passed away on July 21, 2021, surrounded by family.

Jack was born in Springfield, OH to John and Mildred Campbell. Jack married Wanda Vore of Springfield, Ohio on December 2, 1950, in Richmond, IN.

The two moved to Cincinnati after serving his country in the United States Army during the Korean War. He played football for the University of Cincinnati and earned the nickname “Bear” from coach Sid Gillman. During his years as a Bearcat he was a starting guard on both offense and defense all three of his varsity seasons, played in the 1955 Shrine East-West All Star game in San Francisco, and in 1951 participated in the Sun Bowl. Jack coached football, track and even wrestling for a few years at Woodward High School (1956-1979). He continued his career at Walnut Hills High School up until retirement in 1986. During the summers he managed Orchard Hill Swim Club where he taught hundreds of children how to swim.
After retirement Jack never lost his passion for staying fit. He was known for his tenacity, grit and determination while working out. Jack and Wanda were members of the Clippard YMCA for many years.

Jack is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Wanda Campbell, children, Karen (Tom) Farmer, Doug (Diane) Campbell, Beth (Raja) Sifri, grandchildren, Holly Campbell, Katie (Zack) Davis, Michael (Michelle) Farmer, Allison Sifri and Christina Sifri, great-grandchildren, Ava and Mia, sister, Marjorie Brown, and many extended relatives and friends.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents and his best friend, Doctor Joseph T. Collins.

Visitation for Mr. Jack Campbell will be held on Friday, July 30, 2021, from 10:00 AM until services begin at 11:00 AM, at The Arlington Memorial Gardens Funeral Home, 2155 Compton Road, 45231. Once on the grounds of the memorial park, follow the blue line to the funeral home. Memorial donations can be directed to the American Heart Association.

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08/08/21 03:18 PM #1    

Michael Nebolsky

I was very sorry to learn of Coach Campbell's passing. But, it appeared that he lived a long, good life.

I hadn't seen Coach since Graduation, but his teachings, wisdom and influence reasonate within me, even today.

I sincerely regret that I never had the opportunity to tell him to his face how much I respected, appreciated  and admired him.

It wasn't always like that. Back when I was a 17-18 year old, know it all Teenager (in my mind, anyway), I actually resented him.

It wasn't until later in life that I realized just how young and dumb I was. I didn't understand that Coach Campbell's relentless and demanding efforts for us to achieve 110% perfection was not  just an old school, no nonsence, Woody Hayes style  motivational  tactic just  to win Football games.

He was trying to make us Men.To teach us about  achieving success, developing character, and instill within us confidence,  always being competitive, being mentally and physically prepared, and that mediocrity was not acceptable. In other words, that tough  "Bulldog Mentality". He was trying to prepare us for the long, difficult  journey down the road of life.

Also, many of us want to thank him for giving us the pride and wonderful memories of that magical 10-0, 1964 PHSL Championship season. I also want to acknowledge the contributions of Coach Art Paul, my fellow teammates Tommy Dyer, Mike Sammons, Virgil Parker, Mike Davis and so many others. And, of course,  first and foremost, 'the Great Clem Turner", RIP.

My sincere condolences to the Family members and Friends of this extraordinaty man that touched so many lives in a positive manner.

08/08/21 08:52 PM #2    

Robert Stewart

I want to second all that Michael said. Coach Bear Campbell was a man that I feared and respected. He gave me a few well deserved swats over my years at Woodward. He was a man's man and one great football player for our alma mater University of Cincinnati. I'm blessed to have known him.

RIP Bear!!!!!
Bob Stewart

08/09/21 07:29 PM #3    

Robert Bob Wilkinson

Coach Campbell was a special man. He took young boys and turned them into young men. All those years we were with him were special. Thank You Coach and my you RIP.

08/09/21 07:29 PM #4    

Robert Bob Wilkinson

Coach Campbell was a special man. He took young boys and turned them into young men. All those years we were with him were special. Thank You Coach and my you RIP.

08/10/21 12:40 PM #5    

John Kimpel

Oh my the Bear is gone.  It's hard to think about high school without thinking about football and it's hard to think about football without thinking about Coach Campbell.  He was a terific coach.  We only had two coaches, Jack Campbell and Art Paul, but starting with two a days in August they taught us so much.  They knew the game.  They kept us together through good times and bad.  We were a team. Such fond memories. 

One memory of Coach Campbell that sticks out for me:  when we had full scrimmages he sometimes put on his old helmet (one without a face mask) and stepped in at quarterback and ran a few plays.  I was playing left cornerback and he ran a sweep around right end and I went to tackle him but thought better of it. He gave me a vicious stiff arm and knocked me down, looking at me with disdain.  Art Paul came over and said, "you better tackle him next time."  Sure enough, Campbell  ran the same play.  So I tackled him.  Hard.  He jumped up, fists raised, ready to fight.  Was I scared?  Absolutely.  The Bear could be a scary guy.  Thankfully, Coach Paul quickly intervened. 

I loved watching Fiday Night Lights on TV, but it was so 90's and we played in the 60's.  I had no idea what "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose" meant.  I'm sure the Bear, a Korean War vet who played in the 50's didn't know either.  I remember his motto was "You have to be willing to give an inch of your nose to get across the goal line."  We understood that.  May he rest in peace.

08/12/21 12:09 PM #6    

Mike Davis

Coach Campbell (we're too old to call him Mr Campbell, and it doesn't feel right to call him Jack) was a mentor to many of us during our high school days.  We've all moved on, but hopefully our memories of him still linger.  Reading Michael Nebolsky's comments, and John K's 'best of' memories, I think says it all.  Coach Campbell and Coach Paul, each in their own way, made significant contributions to each of us who saw them daily during those hot weeks of August through to those first cold days of fall.  While I sit in front of my screen getting ready to hit 'submit', I can't help but remenber my own personal stories.  RIP

08/16/21 10:15 AM #7    

Ellis Richardson

I was sorry to learn that Coach Campbell had recently passed.

My fellow Bulldog Teammates, Michael Nebolsky, Bob Wilkinson, John Kimpel and Mike Davis captured in their comments many of the teachings that made Coach Campbell so special.

Winning the 1964 PHSL Football Champioship was the result of a truly magical season. However, for me personally, it was the "journey" that allowed us to become a championship team. Coach Campbell took a very diverse group of young men from different socio-econonmic backgrounds, and instilled in us the importance of hard work, as well as placing trust in our teammates to work together in order to get the job done. These are teachings that stayed with me throughout my professional career!

RIP Coach!!! 

08/16/21 07:27 PM #8    

Robin Sevester (Avery)

I never   had the pleasure of knowing coach Bear but the words from Mike , Davis and Kimpel summed up what a great role model he was for so many. We were all fortunate to have had such great coaches and  teachers at Woodward. They helped shape us for sure. Condolences to his family and friends 




12/19/21 04:24 PM #9    

Mark Abrams

Coach Campbell's history & stats, provided by Jack Sadler, WHS '68

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