Washington State Highway Patrolman Donald R. Campbell, Jr. was struck and killed by a freight truck during traffic control duties on the Pacific Highway near Vancouver on Friday, December 21, 1951. He was 28 years old.
Patrolman Campbell was the twelfth member of the WSP organization to lose his life in the line of duty in the agency’s first century of service. Originally from Montana, he graduated from high school in Spokane before serving in the South Pacific during WWII, where he rose to the rank of second lieutenant He was a father, a husband, a combat veteran, a colleague, a public servant, and a friend. He was also a man who gave his life in the service of the State of Washington and all who call it home. We remember…
Donald R. Campbell, Jr was born to Donald Reed Campbell Sr., and Myrtle F. Witham on April 23, 1923, in Ekalaka, Montana. The family moved to Spokane in 1936, where his father worked as a stock buyer and truck driver.
Campbell graduated from Rogers High School in 1940, and soon after joined the United States Army infantry, following in the footsteps of his father who served in World War I. Campbell’s four year, 10-month tour included time in the South Pacific during World War II, rising to the rank of second lieutenant.
After returning home, Campbell determined his need to serve his country and community was not over. He joined the Washington State Patrol as a vehicle inspector in Vancouver on Sept. 7, 1945, and transferred to Spokane one month later. While working as a vehicle inspector, Campbell married his wife Anita Hagen on June 4, 1947, in Spokane, and eventually grew to a family of three with the addition of their daughter, Rhonda Rae.
Campbell was commissioned as a Washington State Highway Patrolman on May 1, 1948, assigned to Vancouver. He transferred to his final assignment in Battle Ground in April 1949.
END OF WATCH
Washington State Highway Patrolman Donald R. Campbell gave his life in service on Friday, December 21, 1951 on Pacific Highway near Vancouver, Washington. A truck had stalled in the roadway and Campbell was conducting traffic control duties when he was struck by a freight truck.
He was killed instantly.
Washington State Highway Patrolman Donald R. Campbell was survived by his wife and daughter. He was laid to rest in Bofer, Montana.
On May 11, 1998, he was posthumously awarded the Washington Law Enforcement Medal of Honor.
In a memorial note to Patrolman Campbell posted online many years after his passing, Phyllis Loya, the mother of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater wrote: “Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace…” The Washington State Patrol respects, remembers, honors, and reveres Patrolman Campbell. His life was one of service, one of duty, and tragically, one of danger and sacrifice. We remember his commitment and his courage. We always will.
Washington State Highway Patrolman Donald R. Campbell, Jr.
End of Watch – December 21, 1951
Gone But Never Forgotten