Susan Gail Kaufmann Campbell ’85

Susan Gail (Kaufmann) Campbell lived a full life by shining her loving light on everyone she met. She graduated from Seven Hills School and entered Davidson College in the fall of 1981 where she met the love of her life, Malcolm, whom she married in 1988. After graduating in 1985 as a Studio Art major, Susan pursued a pottery apprenticeship in Bryant Pond, Maine. Always ready for an adventure, in 1987, Susan and Malcolm spent a year teaching at Shikokho Secondary School in Kenya. They returned to the U.S. so that Malcolm could pursue his PhD at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Susan opened a phone book and found three picture framing shops. She called each one and asked if they were hiring. The Mitre Box owner said to come over for an interview and an hour later, Susan had a job. A year later, Susan began working at the Hopkins library where she specialized in science periodicals, which was very helpful to Malcolm.

In the summer of 1992, the couple moved to St. Louis where Susan began a sabbatical that lasted forty years! Susan took motherhood very seriously and treated her pregnancies as the first stage of raising a healthy child. Their first daughter, Paulina, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota where Malcolm worked at Macalester College. They moved back to Davidson in the summer of 1994 when Malcolm took a job in the Biology Department. They bought a house in 1995 and have lived there since. Their second child, Celeste, was born in 1997. Susan was deeply involved in the children’s education, in and out of formal schooling. During summers, she organized “Camp Campbell,” which included their own children as well as several others. During Camp Campbell, they learned German, did art work, sang, played, and learned to cook. As the girls grew up, Susan supported them in new ways. She attended all sporting events and performances, even learning to keep the scorebook for volleyball matches. She was a role model for many mothers and readily offered advice and support to new or expectant parents. Susan had a lifelong passion for art and music and began learning to play the cello at age 48. She felt deeply connected to the natural world, and always enjoyed walks with friends and family.

Susan and her family attended the Davidson Friends (Quaker) Meeting starting in 1997. At various times, she was treasurer, helped design the Meeting House on South Street, and was an active member of several committees. Becoming Quaker influenced the rest of her life. They attended Quaker Meetings while living in Seattle and Flagstaff during Malcolm’s two sabbaticals spent away from Davidson. She became an informal minister to many in the community. She helped those in need and counseled anyone who felt alone or distressed. Susan was able to see the good in everyone and had friends ranging from 2 to 96 years old. She marked the birthdays of people in town and around the world, sending cards or emails to help them feel special.

Susan was born February 2, 1963 to Gail and John Kaufmann of Cincinnati, Ohio. She is survived by her husband Malcolm of Davidson, daughters Paulina and Celeste, and brother David of Cincinnati. She was a loving wife, mother, and friend. Those who knew her will miss her warm spirit and loving soul. She promised to visit family and friends “from the other side of the thin veil,” so be on the lookout for rays of sunshine cutting through clouds, morning fog or unusual birds.

A service will be held in St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, North Carolina at 3p.m. on Saturday, May 28. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your local Hospice organization or the Charlotte Regional office that helped Susan for the last seven months of her life: