Former North Vernon mayor dies

North Vernon Mayor Harold “Soup” Campbell enjoys a quiet moment in his office during the last days of his second term as the mayor. Cecelia Ellis

Harold “Soup” Campbell, who served North Vernon as mayor and a city councilman, and Jennings County as sheriff, died Monday at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. He was 72.

Campbell was born in Owsley County, Kentucky, on Dec. 17, 1946, but his parents moved the family to North Vernon in 1949.

He graduated from North Vernon High School in 1965 and attended Indiana University before entering the U.S. Army in December 1966. He remained in the Army until December 1969.

After leaving the Army, he took a job as a deputy with the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department in 1970. He was elected sheriff in 1974, and held the position from ‘75 to ‘78.

Campbell held several jobs afterward, with the B&O Railroad, in the construction business and for himself with the Kiel Oil Co., he told The Republic in 2015. He also started driving a school bus for the Jennings County School Corp. to supplement his income during those years, but continued as a bus driver even through his time as mayor.

A member of the Democratic Party, Campbell won a seat on the North Vernon City Council in 1996, and served as a councilman a total of eight years.

He was elected mayor in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. Campbell decided in 2015 not to seek a third term.

Campbell was a member of VFW Post 2021 in North Vernon, and a member of North Vernon Masonic Lodge 59.

“This town has always been good to me. I have had a good life here and this will always be my home,” Campbell told The Republic in 2015.

He is survived by his wife Joann (Ertel) Campbell; son Travis (Kristin), of North Vernon; son Troy (Leslie), of Fishers; daughter Jodi (Dan) Hill, of Boston; one brother; and six grandchildren.

Visitation is 4-8 p.m. Friday at Sawyer-Pickett Funeral Home, 115 S. State St., North Vernon. Masonic services will be 7 to 7:30 p.m. Friday. The funeral is 10 a.m. Saturday at Sawyer-Pickett Funeral Home, followed by military graveside services at Vernon Cemetery.