Rev. Norton Ragan Campbell, Jr., known affectionately as “Humpy” Campbell from childhood by his oldest friends, died Thursday, May 16, 2019, in Atlanta, at the age of 93.
The only child of N. R. Campbell, Sr., and Evelyn Anderson Campbell, he was born in Nashville, TN, on July 28, 1925. Norton grew up in Nashville and Chattanooga, where he graduated from McCallie Prep School in 1943, followed by a year of service in the Army. He earned his baccalaureate degree from Vanderbilt University and worked in business in Nashville for several years.
Through church, he met and fell in love with Jo Ann Russell of Athens, GA. They were married in Athens on June 7, 1952, and soon thereafter he answered his call to ministry. They moved to Atlanta so he could attend Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and began their family during those years. Following graduation, he was ordained as a minister in the Methodist Church and began serving pastoral appointments in the North Georgia Conference. He was founding pastor of Powers Ferry United Methodist Church, Marietta, GA, serving it from 1956 to 1960, and again from 1966 to 1970. He also served Woodrow UMC in New York City; First UMC of Dahlonega, GA; and in Atlanta, GA, St. Mark UMC, Martha Brown UMC, Cokesbury UMC, and Druid Hills UMC. His last appointment before retiring was to Harmony Grove UMC in Lilburn, GA.
Throughout his ministry, Norton was committed to the transformation of individuals and society through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He signed the 2nd Atlanta Ministers Manifesto in 1958. He preached social justice and worked to foster community ministry and reconciliation in the context of the times and churches where he served. While a pastor in Marietta, he contributed to the early years of MUST Ministries. While serving Martha Brown UMC, he approached Wesley Homes with his idea of locating an affordable senior living facility in East Atlanta. The seed he planted became Brannan Towers.
He loved golf and his golfing buddies, sponsoring youth choir tours, taking older adults on outings and trips, fishing, teaching his children and their friends to water ski, playing bridge, taking tour groups on travels abroad as well as in the U.S., and in his retirement years, teaching Sunday School and singing in the older adult choir at Harmony Grove UMC.
He is survived by Jo Ann Campbell, his beloved wife of 66 years, his partner in ministry, fun, parenting and grandparenting; son N. R. (Ray) Campbell, III; daughter, Rev. Melinda C. Jones (Rev. Hal Jones); son, Russell Campbell (Carrianne); grandchildren, Jeneane Fleenor (Will), Kathleen Campbell, Carson Campbell, Rachel Campbell, Steven Jones (Reesey), Jeff Jones (Lizzie), Robert Campbell, and Lauren Campbell; and great-grandchildren Lucca and Marion Fleenor.
A Memorial Service will be held at Harmony Grove United Methodist Church on Tuesday, May 21, at 4:00 pm, preceded by visitation with the family beginning at 3:00 p.m. A reception will follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts to Harmony Grove UMC, 50 Harmony Grove Road, Lilburn, GA 30047; or Wellroot Family Services (United Methodist Children’s Home), 1967 Lakeside Parkway, Suite 400, Tucker, GA 30084.
Arrangements by Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Lilburn/Tucker Chapel, (770) 564-2726.