Vol. II No. 06 3/15/2021
Stockbridge History - Doc Campbell Heals a Community
by Rick Wilcox
It was 1939, the 200th anniversary of the founding of Stockbridge, when Doctor Donald Campbell arrived in town. He was 33 years old. He setup his medical practice in a small office at his Main Street home.
On August 8th, 1940, Officer Thomas Killfoile was directing traffic as the Tanglewood concert traffic flowed through the Red Lion Inn intersection. He was struck by a car. A fellow officer ran down Main Street to 'Doc' Campbell's house. Doc examined Killfoile and ordered an ambulance. Killfoile died at St. Luke's Hospital, Pittsfield, at 3 a.m.
By the 1950s, Dr. Campbell was the quintessential silver-haired family doctor captured by Norman Rockwell in "Before the Shot". Eddie Locke, the model, took a bit of friendly ribbing at school for baring a portion of his backside. Early in life, after I fell out of a tree, I met Doc Campbell. He charged $3.00 a visit; later I learned how much Doc Campbell gave back to Stockbridge.
In 2001, Doc Campbell died at the age of 95. The family asked if I could give a eulogy. I struggled to gather the words that captured the essence of the person who provided care for the people of Stockbridge for 50 years; to tell his children and grandchildren what he shared with his extended family – the village of Stockbridge.
From Doc Campbell I learned that symbols were important. In 1971, I worked the midnight shift as a Stockbridge policeman. There was no ambulance, no EMT. As often as not an injured person was placed in a police cruiser and transported to the hospital. After a vehicular accident, even at 3 a.m., the dispatcher called Doc Campbell. Within minutes he appeared carrying his little black bag. I wondered what was in that doctor's bag that he could use for someone badly injured in a car accident. What I learned was that the little black bag contained faith and hope. The sight of Doc Campbell, calmly walking up to the accident scene, black bag in hand, always elicited a sigh of relief and the comment, "Doc is here."
The week Doc Campbell died, I wore a black band across my badge to symbolize respect for those officers who died in the line of duty. In Stockbridge there were three. I decided to leave the band on until after Doc Campbell's funeral as a symbol of how much he was a part of the life of the police department, providing care during the last minutes of the lives of those three officers.
Editor's note: Doc Campbell, Part Two, will appear in the next issue. Rick Wilcox was police officer and police chief in Stockbridge for half a century.
Portrait of Donald E. Campbell 1954
Norman Rockwell 1894 – 1978
Courtesy of the NRM Collection.