JAMES MATTHEW CAMPBELL
September 1, 1927 – March 22, 2018
James “Jim” “Beans” Campbell, 90, passed away peacefully at his Dixon ranch with family by his side.
Jim was born to Charles and Katherine (Clancy) Campbell of Davis, CA and named after his grandfathers, James Campbell and Mathew Clancy, who were both pioneer farming families of Davis. At a young age, Jim began working on the family farms and in 1948 took over the operation from his father. He graduated from Davis High School in 1945, whereas, despite his size, he was a star basketball player. During the Demobilization period of WWII, he served one year in the Army Air Force. He attended UC Davis from 1947 to 1949, played basketball and earned an Associate degree from the College of Agriculture. In 1950, he married Elizabeth “Barbara” Stetson, a longtime family friend and DHS class of 1946 graduate. Together they built a home on the Solano County Campbell farm and raised seven children.
Around 1948, Jim started a successful expansion and transition of the Solano County Campbell farm from dryland grain to irrigated row crops. He received the Outstanding Conservation Farmer award from the Conservation District of America in 1969. In 2007, James Campbell Farms was inducted into the California Agricultural Heritage Club in acknowledgment of 125 years of agricultural excellence.
Over the years, Jim loved relaxing at home on his ranch where he tended to his numerous barn and house cats and was entertained by his grandchildren’s adventures. Pismo Beach and Maui became favorite vacation spots for him and Barbara along with their friends and family. They were founding members of Sacramento “Stunt of the Month Club”, and enjoyed 60 years of outings with a close circle of friends. Jim was very generous, there was hardly a time where he wasn’t packing up bags of pink beans or lug boxes of hand-picked tomatoes to bring to a party for everyone’s enjoyment. He was known for “working the room” at every gathering and was a great friend to all.
Jim was active in St. James Church in Davis where he generously gave of his time along with other volunteers to establish and maintain the new St. James School. He attended every reunion for DHS Class of ’45 and well over 500 UCD basketball and football games. Jim once said, “I was born and raised an Aggie fan.”
The Campbell family will surely miss his witty quips including, “I’m going to ship you off to Timbuktu!”, “Can’t, means you don’t want to!” and “You got a stookey-ookey on?”
Jim is survived by his wife of 67 years, Elizabeth “Barbara”; sons Jim (Dianne), Richard (Shannon), Matt (Trish), and Mike (Marianne); daughters Kathy, Liz (John) Salentine, and Theresa; grand-children James (Priscilla), Andrew, and Patrick; Stuart, Sean, and Nicholas; Carrie McCray, Ryan (Krystyl), and Cortneanne; Michael, Steven, Marisa, and Christopher; Shana and Andrew Salentine; great-grandchildren Olivia, James, and Joanna; sister Helen (Joe) Czuleger of Redondo Beach; and many loving nieces and nephews.
A special thank you to Dr. Scott Wigginton for his amazing care and guidance as Jim endured diabetes and Alzheimer’s; to Dr. Richard Larkey for his comfort and reassuring words; and to the caregivers Claudette, Lylah, Vema, and Tasha for their loving support which enabled Jim to remain at home.
Visitors are welcome on Friday, April 6 starting at 6 p.m., Rosary at 7 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home, 116 D St., Davis. Memorial Mass on Saturday, April 7 at 11 a.m. followed by a reception at St. James Catholic Church, 1275 B St., Davis.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. James School, 1215 B St., Davis CA 95616, Jim Sochor Athletic Fund or Men’s Basketball Development Fund, UC Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616.