Robert E. Campbell, 88, of Haverford, a leader in the field of radiology for a half-century, died Sunday, Feb. 2, from acute heart failure at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Campbell had a distinguished career in diagnostic radiology in Philadelphia, where he served from 1955 to 2005 in the radiology department at Pennsylvania Hospital, and as chairman of that department from 1986 to 2005. His influence was felt nationally and internationally.
He mentored many fledgling radiologists as a professor both at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and at Jefferson Medical College. He also served as a consultant to Wills Eye Hospital.
But it was the way he carried out those duties that set Dr. Campbell apart from others. He paid close attention to those around him, remembering their names and the circumstances in which he had met them.
“He was kind and caring, and always put the needs of others ahead of his own,” his family said in a statement.
Born in Salem, Ohio, Dr. Campbell graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a medical degree from the Penn School of Medicine.
He interned at Pennsylvania Hospital, the oldest hospital in the United States, and served a residency at HUP.
Dr. Campbell received Pennsylvania Hospital’s Good Samaritan Award in 2004 and the Philadelphia County Medical Society’s 2007 Strittmatter Award, the organization’s highest honor.
“His participation in organized medicine has enriched our experience,” the society said in a statement accompanying the award. “The Philadelphia County Medical Society is proud to add to his many honors.”
Dr. Campbell served the College of Physicians of Philadelphia as board chairman and president. In January, HUP announced the Robert E. Campbell Endowed Professorship in Radiology at Pennsylvania Hospital.
He led many professional organizations, most notably as president of the Radiological Society of North America in 1989. He raised money to support scholars and fellows in radiology and to provide seed grants aimed at bolstering the future of radiology as a scientific discipline. In 1993, he received the society’s Gold Medal.
So dedicated was Dr. Campbell to the society that from 1976 to 1979, when he chaired the group’s refresher course committee and no computers existed to collate course work and doctor assignments, he and his wife, Nancy, assembled the material on their dining room table and mailed out packets to attendees.
He was chancellor of the American College of Radiology, receiving its Gold Medal in 2006, and chairman of the examination committee of the American Board of Radiology. He was also the first honorary member of the European Congress of Radiology.
When riding the train, to and from Center City, and in retirement, Dr. Campbell edited medical journals. He was a prolific author of medical articles and presented many scientific papers in the United States and throughout the world.
He was known for his quick wit and infectious laugh. “Your dad had that special twinkle in his eye and often a mischievous grin to match it,” said Chip Linehan, a friend of the family.
In his spare time, Dr. Campbell became a self-taught expert on pastoral countryside watercolors, seascape sculptures, Native American dolls, and duck decoys.
His greatest passion was family. He and his wife, whom he married in 1963, traveled the world. Their final trip last year was to Antarctica.
He spent hours on the sidelines of games in which his children and grandchildren played. He was a Philadelphia sports fan and an Ohio State football fan. He vacationed on Cape Cod.
Besides his wife, he is survived by children Rob, Nan Bussey, and Rick, and 11 grandchildren. A son, Colin A., died in 2013.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave. Burial is private.