Look Closer

The Legacy of Tim and Lizzie Campbell

“Let me tell you what I wish I'd known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story”

These are the familiar lyrics from the last song in the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” sung by George Washington to Alexander Hamilton about legacy. Among the many philosophical dialogues within the play, Lin Manuel Miranda reveals through these characters a reflection on life. As their story is told it becomes apparent that who they impact, their successes, their failures, the ways they love others; it will all be told in their absence as a part of history, and it will all factor into their life’s legacy.

We don’t wake up each morning thinking about our legacy. Our life’s goals eventually settle into a steady daily and rhythmic drumbeat whereby we form habits and routines and our aspirations filter into the backs of our minds. There they rest; not forgotten, but simply hidden from view depending on the strength of our ambitions. The old adage about time flying becomes more than a proverb. Then we blink and a decade has gone by. In fact, until someone we care about dies, we rarely think about how the world will remember us. Rest assured, someday when we are gone, whether we realize it or not, that’s what will happen. The living get to tell the story of those who lived and how they lived. Which is why it wasn’t hard for Rachael and Chad Clark (along with their children Maggie and Wyatt) to share the legacy of Timothy and Lizzie Campbell with the entire Whitko Community.

Tim lost his life at the age of 58 to the coronavirus in May of 2020, making him one of the earliest cases to pass within the Whitko community from the virus. Almost a year later, Lizzie lost her life to a battle with cancer in March of 2021. In lieu of a memorial service, the Campbells chose to make a donation to the Whitko Marching Pride in the amount of $2000. This is the story of the Campbell family, how they lived, how they gave, and the legacy of their lives that extends beyond their years shared with us.

The Ten Commandments of Tim Campbell

The Ten Commandments of Tim Campbell

Timothy was the patriarch of the family and an avid musician. He lived in Memphis, Tennessee, started a family, moved to Indiana, enjoyed spending many nights at the local race tracks watching mud fly and eating dusty hamburgers with his buddy and brother-in-law, Gene Burkett. He assisted with the Whitko marching program in which his daughter Rachael played the alto saxophone. The students in the marching band affectionately named him “Moses” after he revealed his “Ten Commandments of Marching Band” to them. On hot summer days during band camp in Fort Wayne, it was often rumored that it would only rain and cool the hot summer day’s practice session, if Moses would do a special dance.

Lizzie Campbell was loved equally as much as her husband Tim in the town of Pierceton. Born and raised in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, she was a 1978 Whitko graduate and later received her degree in nursing from Dyersburg State Community College in Tennessee. According to her obituary, “She devoted her entire life in the service of others and rendering care to all she touched.” Together she and Tim raised a family of their own. Then, they lived long enough to see their own children raise up another generation of musicians, their grandchildren, known to their family as the “6 pack”.

Photos from the Campbell family album.

Holidays and special occasions at the Campbell house were filled with music. There was never a question of if you will play an instrument, simply a question of which one or how many a family member may end up knowing how to play. According to Maggie Clark, one of the Campbell grandchildren, “A typical family get-together is not quiet. Holidays can get loud and fun with playing Christmas pieces and Mamaw and Papaw taught us how to play and sing.”

Music in the Campbell family, not unlike many families who share a love of music, is almost a language that allows them to speak to one another. At a time when many events have been cancelled, Rachael Clark said this, “because of everything you can experience virtually, this is not something you can experience through a screen. Music is such an important part to experience in person. It’s a universal language. It’s healing, anger, passion, whatever you need it to be.”

For Rachael and Chad, it was during the Whitko Winter Winds indoor marching band competition that their family began discussing the best way to keep the legacy of Tim and Lizzie alive. The heroes known to many within Whitko Community Schools span as far and wide as the district with names like Ryan Huff and Jarrod Lewis. Whitko’s football field is named after Ryan Huff, and the 1986 State Championship Wildcat Football Team dedicated their season to Huff that year. Jarrod Lewis is the familiar name many have come to know as a part of the annual Jarrod Day Celebration within the Whitko Jr/Sr High School. Now among those names Wildcats include Timothy and Lizzie Campbell for their family’s donation to the Whitko Marching Pride.

Band director John Van Patten has shared this year’s arrangement will be entitled “LOOK CLOSER” and will invite the audience to see how natural elements found in and among nature each day can also be explained within the complexities of mathematics. For instance, the Fibonacci Sequence can be found in the way sunflower seeds coil outward from the center. The band’s performance will require among many other elements a large tarp to assist the band in communicating this messaging. Roughly $600 contributed will pay for the tarp outright, while other portions of the contributions will assist in many of the other needs within the band program.

Lizzie Campbell used to say about football games, “the saddest moment was when everyone leaves to go to the restroom at halftime,” according to her daughter Rachael. Lizzie often encouraged others to “sit down and watch the band,” because she knew the show was about to start and she didn’t want anyone to miss it!

This fall, when the Whitko Marching Pride takes the field at halftime, we hope you’ll consider staying just a bit longer. We hope you’ll be looking just a little closer. As you watch the performance, the way the Campbell’s once did, we hope you’ll remember their legacy that marches alongside each and every band member.

The Campbell Family: Rachael, Chad, Wyatt, and Maggie together with Whitko Band Director John Van Patten.

Photos inside Whitko Jr/Sr High School of the Campbell family.

If you'd like to contribute to the Whitko Marching Pride through a donation in honor of the Campbell family, you can donate now by visiting whitkoband.com/donate.