SAXTONS RIVER, VT – Mary Elizabeth (Beth) Miller Campbell, age 92, passed away November 21, 2016 of complications associated with her long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Born June 16, 1924 in Lorain, Ohio, she was the daughter of Otto Miller, Jr. and Irene (Duffy) Miller. She had a brother, Otto Miller III, and a sister, Joan Irene (Miller) Saunders.
When Beth was ten her father abandoned the family and she and her siblings spent much time with relatives; especially with her Aunt Marie, and her Grammy Tyler, and she later reveled in telling stories of the love she felt and the good memories she had of being under their wings.
Beth's mother, known to the family as Ahben, was a Broadway show singer and dancer and her travels caused Beth to attend schools in New York City and Westport, Connecticut. She attended Staples High School in Westport. Beth had intended to go to Smith College before the onset of World War II. She was, as a very young woman, the chairperson in raising funds for an ambulance that was successfully bought and shipped toward Britain before the United States entered the war. The transport ship unfortunately was sunk en route to Europe. She went to work for a defense contractor in Bridgeport, Ct.. She was also active in the USO during the war. As the war effort started to subside she became a dance instructor for Arthur Murray Studios – her dexterity continued to amaze her children well into her eighties. It was during this time she met her future husband, Robert Mosher Campbell. They had moved to New York City and married in March of 1945. She worked at Saks Fifth Avenue and loved the city.
In 1948 Beth's husband Bob was offered a job at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vt., and they decided to move to this small Vermont village with their two small children. Two children became four, and then even more as Beth eventually gave birth to eleven children; Robert Campbell, Jr., Saxtons River, Elizabeth Campbell Chromec, Saxtons River, Averill Campbell Larsen, Saxtons River, Michael Campbell (Erin O'Hearn), Boston, MA, Sean Campbell (Joan), Saxtons River, Peter Campbell, Washington D.C., Margaret Campbell LaCoste, (Don) Northport, ME, Charles Campbell (Julie), Arlington, VA, William Campbell (Gina), Greenfield, MA, Sarah Campbell, Saxtons River, and Matthew Campbell, Greenfield, MA.
Beth was always active, gracious and caring. Even while tending to her own large brood she was known for her generosity in taking care of neighbors and involving herself in community issues she felt strongly about. She was an advocate for good schools and for improving the appearance of Saxtons River. She was a talented cook and hostess. She had a great many friends in Saxtons River, Bellows Falls, Walpole and surrounding communities.
Beth had a knack for decorating and her skill was abundantly clear throughout the historical home she and her family restored in 1957. In 1973 Beth, with her husband and daughter, bought and restored the Saxtons River Inn. Beth put endless energy into bringing a bright and colorful, but totally eclectic style to the Inn where each room had its own truly original look. Family lore is thick with stories of her exploring the Northeast looking for just the "right thing." The result was a notable building attracting attention nationwide and bringing customers from around the world.
The Inn was eventually sold and Bob and Beth began to spend several months a year in Honolulu, HI. Beth loved the warmth, the sun, and being in a city again. She spent much time volunteering and making friends at the Honolulu Art Museum. She loved to travel and visited many European cities and countries. Unfortunately Alzheimer's was to begin to take its toll and the long trips to Hawaii and other destinations were no longer possible.
Beth is survived by her husband, Bob, all of her children, and 12 grandchildren: Christopher Campbell, Missoula, Montana; Matteo Campbell, Cambridge, VT; Meghan Campbell, Portland OR; Molly Campbell, Golden Co; Silas Campbell, Golden CO; Rachael Chromec, Springfield, OH; Caitlyn Campbell, Washington, DC; Luke Campbell, Denver CO; Laura Campbell, Boston MA; Tyler Campbell, Burlington VT; Sylvia Campbell and Desmond Campbell, Boston MA; and five great-grandchildren: DiDi Campbell, Portland OR; Ila and Rueben Campbell, Cambridge VT; Rhett and Otis Campbell, Golden CO. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews; Pamela Miller, Fairbanks AK, Paul Miller, Chardon, OH, Peter Miller, Burbank, CA, and Elizabeth Miller, Nashville, TN. She was predeceased by her parents and her brother and sister.
A memorial gathering for family and friends will be held at the Saxtons River Inn in Saxtons River, December 3, at 5 p.m. to celebrate her long and busy life. The family is particularly grateful for the loving care she received over the past five and a half years at Woodstock Terrace.
Memorial donations can be made to the American Alzheimer's Association
, 300 Cornerstone Drive, Suite 130, Williston, VT 05495 or the Bob and Beth Art fund, Vermont Academy, P. O Box 500, Saxtons River VT, 05154