Montana loses one of the best

by Pete Talbot

(Update: a memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 30, at the University Congregational Church, 405 University Avenue.  A reception will follow.)

Well into his eighties, Doug Campbell spoke truth to power.  He died on Tuesday at 93, on his own terms.

He and his wife Alice were progressive political icons in Missoula and Montana. Alice preceded him in death.    

I consider Doug a mentor. Although his fight was usually with right-wing regressives, he wasn’t above challenging his own party — Democrats — when he saw them selling out to corporate interests or political expediency.

When I would get discouraged pursuing progressive politics, all I had to do was look to Doug Campbell for inspiration. He fought more battles on behalf of the people than I could even consider. And at nearly 40 years my senior, he was still fighting them: labor, peace, social justice, health care … the list goes on and on. He continued to speak out for those who had no voice; the underdog ignored by the powers that be.

With Alice by his side  – what a wonderful couple — it was a force to be reckoned with.

He wasn’t a wealthy man, but he was the first to write a ten or twenty dollar check at fundraisers for progressive candidates and causes.

If we had more Doug Campbells in the world, it would certainly be a better place. Missoula and Montana are improved by the Campbells.

He was also an expert gardener; iris, I believe.  Beautiful, huge blossoms.

Doug will be missed but he left a legacy in the many people who will continue to advance progressive causes, in part because they knew Doug Campbell.

A memorial service is planned for May 30 at University Congregational Church — details forthcoming.  Look for an obit in the Missoulian and perhaps a story, too (as well there should be).  

 


  1. Doug and Alice sound like people I’da liked.

  2. Doug and alice were two of the most dedicated and courageous citizens
    Of montana I have ever met. true heroes.

  3. jim

    Well said, Pete. Few people could express their wisdom so forcefully and yet be almost quiet in speaking as Doug and Alice.

  4. Thank you to Pete Talbot for his eloquent memory of my father. Missoula & the state of Montana are a better place because of his (& my mother’s efforts) to change the politics in Montana, if not the nation. Look at Governor Sweitzer.

  5. I worked with Doug Campbell in the 60’s, Cutting meat, (butchering), at Don’s Food Market out on west Broadway.
    He’d work all day, (I was part time), then he’d come back after the store closed and cut game, (during hunting season), until 2 or 3 in the morning. Doug was one of Missoula’s finest people.
    I’m proud to say I knew him and worked with him. He’d work 18 hrs a day and still have a smile or a joke for you.
    A fine man. A good man.




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