Reading this morning's paper, I was shocked to see an obituary notice for Dr. Robert A. Campbell, M.D., former professor of pediatrics here at OHSU. A specialist in pediatric nephrology, Dr. Campbell was also Santa to patients in Doernbecher Memorial Hospital for almost 20 years.
I had occasion to speak with Dr. Campbell just last month. One of our oral history interviewees, he had called to see whether he could get a replacement for his copy of the interview, which he had loaned to a friend who had never returned it. Of course, we happily sent him three additional copies. It was a memorable call, though: I picked up my ringing phone and was greeted with a rather loud voice declaring "This is Dr. Robert A. Campbell. Who is this?" (He had called me, but, I guess you never really know who'll pick up a phone...)
We went on to have a lovely conversation about my last name, which he correctly pegged as Polish, and about his Czech wife, whose maiden name was Muchka. (Mucha in Polish means 'fly.') After he finally got down to business and we discussed the replacement copies of the interview, he suddenly asked me: "How old are you?" When I told him, he said, "I thought so. You're very flirtatious. Goodbye!" and promptly hung up.
I'm pretty sure no one has ever called me flirtatious (I'm a librarian.) But it was one of the more entertaining calls I've gotten recently, and it certainly endeared Dr. Campbell to me. I am saddened to hear of his death.