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Roberta Sue (Poush) Campbell was born September 14, 1943 and passed away on October 16, 2020 at Clearview Home. Her daughter, Michelle, was at her bedside, holding her hand and they were enjoying Christmas music in October. She died the way she lived: brave and beautiful.
Roberta was born to Marie and Robert Poush while the family was residing in Nebraska. She also had an older brother, Byrle. The family eventually moved to Mount Ayr where she lived the rest of her life. She was a high school graduate of Mount Ayr School in 1962.
Roberta married Elvin Doyle Campbell July 8, 1962. Roberta and Doyle had three children: Candi Sue, Kenneth Doyle and Michelle Marie.
Roberta was a much-loved school cook at Mount Ayr Community Schools for forty years. She gave the students more than food—she gave them encouragement, kindness and a cheerful smile. Roberta also worked as a dietary aid at Clearview Homes. There, she enjoyed the residents and was a pleasure to work with as well.
Roberta loved children and her family very much. She especially enjoyed becoming a grandma. Roberta was a very proud grandma of Tyler Ryan, Emily Lynn and Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, Laura Rose Campbell and Amy Elizabeth Smith. She was a kind, patient and fun grandma.
Roberta also loved Christmas. Every year, she was one of the first, if not the first, in town to put up her Christmas tree but only if she kept the curtains closed (per Doyle’s rule!) Finally, many years later, Roberta got a Christmas tree that she left up year round.
Roberta also loved shopping and would often talk about her trips to Wal-Mart. She could spend hours walking up and down the aisles just looking at the merchandise. For many years, her daughter, Michelle would fly back from California to take her shopping on Black Friday.
Below is the essay by her daughter, Michelle, written for a Sacramento publication, about their adventures.
For several years, I would fly back from California to Iowa on Thanksgiving Day so I could take my mother shopping on Black Friday. I would rent a car in Kansas City and drive two hours to my hometown of Mount Ayr, IA—population 1,600. My mother’s home was small and staying with her wasn’t an option. I always stayed at a small rental house in town called “The Little House”. It was charming and cozy. The owner, Mary Ellen Taylor, always ensured there was freshly baked bread waiting for me when I arrived. I would get in late, just in time to have a slice of the warm bread and sleep for a few hours before picking my mother up for our shopping trip. These trips have since stopped for many reasons—some happy and some sad. But I remember our last trip well. It was in 2009—a year and a half before I had my own daughter so I now can reflect back on it with even greater thankfulness than at the time.
Our shopping adventure started at 5:00 a.m. This fact alone proves my enormous love for my mother, as I am NOT a morning person. As I was driving down my mother’s street, I saw a figure ahead standing in the street by another car. It was my mother. She had mistaken an early morning hunter for me and had waved him over to pick her up. She giggled at her mistake as she got into my car.
We drove to another town, two hours away. We talked and listened to Christmas music while in the car. This trip is my Christmas gift to her. I pay for food, gas, meals and our afternoon movie with snacks and take her anywhere she wants to go. That particular day, we went to a mall, a movie and three different Wal-Mart stores. My mother loves Wal-Mart. My father used to tell people that when he died, he wanted to be buried at Wal-Mart because it meant his wife would come visit him twice a week. In her defense, the town she lives in is very small and she has to drive 30-40 minutes to the closest Wal-Mart store. She doesn’t even buy much. She just loves to walk the aisles and look.
By 9 p.m., while on the way to our third Wal-Mart store, my mother sees a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. Although we’ve already eaten lunch and dinner, my mother asks to drive through and pick up a bucket of chicken for the family at home. We do and soon we are pulling into the parking lot of our third (and hopefully final!) Wal-Mart. My mother has decided that she is a little hungry and as she is getting her purse, she helps herself to a piece of chicken. I come around the car to walk into the store with her. And then it happened; a moment I will never forget. With the soft blue glow of the neon Wal-Mart sign reflecting on her face and a piece of KFC chicken in her hand, she looked at me, smiled radiantly and said, “Michelle, it just doesn’t get better than this.” I don’t think she even realized the poignancy of her statement but I did and I still do.
Since that night, a lot has changed. I had a miracle baby at the age of 43. Six weeks after my daughter’s birth, my father died and a few months later, my mother’s father died. Then, my mother retired from working as a school cook after forty years. All these events have aged her in ways I didn’t expect. Her once sharp mind is now unclear and she has difficulty remembering events and people. She now resides in a nursing home in the dementia unit. When I called her recently, I asked her if she remembered what we used to do the day after Thanksgiving. She replied with the most precious compliment I’ve ever received. She said, “No, but I know if I was with you, I had a good time.” She used to tell me, on hard days, she would think about our trip and they would help get her through the day. She told me she liked looking forward to them and then she enjoyed remembering them. Now, she cannot do either. But I can. I remember her giggle, and I remember her face in that blue light and I remember her radiant smile and the way she looked at me that night. I remember and I am so thankful.
Here’s wishing you all a Thanksgiving Day that you too can say, “It just doesn’t get better than this!”
Roberta’s parents, brother and husband preceded her in death. Left to cherish her memory include her children: Candi (Mike), Ken (Brenda) and Michelle (Greg), grandchildren and many friends. Special friends who cherished her are Betty Davenport, Bev McGinnis, Jan Mercer and Lois Cloud.
And from me, her daughter, Michelle, here is a personal note. So many of you knew my mom and loved her so well. Her life, though not particularly fancy, made a difference to many. She was love and humor and warmth and kindness and I am the luckiest daughter in the world because I got to call her my mom. So I am here, wishing those of you who knew and loved her, moments in your lives where you, too, can say, “It doesn’t get better than this.”
Memorials requested are acts of kindness and love.
Services were at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 18, 2020 at the Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr, IA.
Reading by Betty Davenport.
Message by Pastor Bart Shields.
Obituary by Michelle Smith.
Musician and songs were Ken Campbell Recording “Will The Circle be Unbroken”, Korbie Rinehart  “Amazing Grace” and “Silent Night, Holy Night”.
Casketbearers Tyler Campbell, Kirk Golliday, Gary Myers, Don Zollman, David Zollman and Jonathan Zollman.
Honorary pallbearers were Emily Campbell, Sarah Campbell, Laura Campbell and Amy Smith.     At rest at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr, IA.

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