John Wood Campbell Sr., my grandfather, was born in Napoleon, Ohio, where he attended school and married Dorothy Strahorn. He studied engineering at the University of Michigan and became an electrical engineer. He advanced rapidly in the Bell Telephone system and worked as senior engineer and manager for many years at corporate headquarters in New York City. He and Dorothy lived in suburban Northern New Jersey, where their two children were born: John Wood (Junior) in 1910, and Laura Philinda in 1917. Dorothy left him a few years after Laura Philinda's birth, marrying James A. Middleton, a British immigrant. John later married Helen Putnam, a Canadian citizen working in New York as a Nurse Anesthitist. He and Helen (known to friends and family as "Putty") retired to Sarasota, Florida, a few years after the end of World War II, where they lived the remainder of their lives.

I didn't know my grandfather – known to me and my sisters as "abuelito" – very well, since we never lived in the same place and only spent occasional vacations together. I do recall that my mother Philinda was very fond of her father. She told me two things that she about him that are tangentially relevant to the document presented here. First, about his use of language: "He would never use a monosyllable when a polysyllable would do nearly as well!" Then, about his delight in Latin American markets: when she was overpowered by the odors and ready to leave, he would continue to enjoy the experience due to his lack of the sense of smell.

Thus far, I have only unearthed one document of his: the travel account linked below about a 6-month trip to Latin America and the Caribbean. He traveled widely in Europe after World War II as a consulting telephone engineer, assisting in repair and modernization of war-ravaged European telephone systems. We have his passport, attesting to the many countries he visited, and I hope to discover some account or letters from this period; but so far the 30-page account of the Latin America trip in 1951 and 1952 is all that has come to light.

Laurence John Krieg
October, 2020

Latin America and the Caribbean: 1951-1952

Introductory Letter Itinerary Travel Account