Mr. Ralph Kimsey Campbell, “Kim”, 95, of Ducktown, Tennessee passed away Sunday, March 17th 2013.
He was born November 11, 1917. He was the oldest of six children born to Hoyt and Pauline Kimsey Campbell, who were a well-known family in the Copper Basin area.
Kim was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, Martin, Lynn and William Campbell. Also preceding him in death by his wife of sixty-one years, Edith ChanceyCampbell.
He is survived by one brother, Don, of Blue Ridge, GA and one sister Helen Rippy of Dallas TX. Survivors also include his son, R.K. Campbell, Jr. and wife Linda of Ducktown, two daughters, Diane Ristorcelli and husband, Tony, of Orlanda, FL and Karen LaGraff and husband, Dan of Chattanooga, TN. He is also survived by his beloved dog, Gizmo the 3rd.
Kim had eight grandchildren, Jeff Campbell, Lisa Martin, Jennifer Leadbetter, Todd Ristorcelli, Lori Klaus, Luke, Jordan, and Alex Lagraff. He also had ten great grandchildren, Brandt and Kemsey Martin, Daniel and Phillip Leadbetter, Chancey Campbell, Ella and Cali Ristorcelli, Makenzie, Ashlyn, and Julia Klaus.
Kim’s work career included both an airplane and a car dealership, a Gulf oil distributorship, owned and operated the Three Bears Trading Post, the Copper Station, and the Ole Copper Inn Motel in Ducktown for many years. He also flew frequently for the Cities Service.
Kim spent his entire life as a flying enthusiast. As a teenager, he and younger brother, Martin, built an airplane at their home in McCaysville, GA during the late thirties. In the early 1940’s, he left home to join the Royal Canadian Air Force, later transferring to the US Army Air Corps. He flew both B-17s and B-29s during World War II, and he successfully flew fifty missions. He Received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters, and the African Campaign Ribbon with two Battle Stars.
In his late sixties, Kim built another airplane in his home, which was an experimental plane called a long-EZ. He fulfilled a lifelong dream of flying the Long-EZ to Alaska on a six week adventure flight, and he continued to pursue his passion for flying until he was eighty-six years old.
Kim took much pride in giving many people in the Basin area their first airplane ride. He was known for his friendliness and he loved to share his life stories with everyone. He was admired, respected and loved by many and he will be greatly missed.
Kim was a previous member of the Kiwanis Club of Copperhill. He was a Christian, and long-time member of the Mine City Baptist Church of Ducktown.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Orange Grove Center, 615 Derby Street, Chattanooga, TN 37404.
Visitation will be Friday, March 22 from 5 until 7 pm at the funeral home.
Funeral Services will be Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 11:00 am at the Mine City Baptist Church in Ducktown.
Arrangements entrusted to the Finch-Cochran Funeral Home, McCaysville, GA. You may send condolences to the family and sign the guest register at www.cochranfuneralhomes.com