Parish ‘icon’ returns nearly four years after death

Nearly four years after Charlie Campbell’s body was donated for science, the man described as an icon in the area’s agriculture community returned to St. Charles Parish.

Campbell’s ashes were spread at his childhood home on the rice fields of his family farm in Gueydan, La., but he spent most of his life in Luling.

“He was a farmer by heart and his ashes were put there,” said his wife, Josefina. “Whatever is left, I scattered his ashes to the place where he was born and raised.”

It was a fitting end for a man who very much cared about helping others and even outlined how he could do it by committing his last act of generosity.

In his own eulogy, entitled, “To Remember Me,” Campbell recounts his wish that his “deathbed” instead be his “bed of life” where any part of him be used to help others.

Campbell made the decision 27 years ago to donate his body, Josefina said.

By the time he died on Jan. 6, 2015 at age 79, his health issues had taken a toll on being an organ donor but that didn’t stop his body from being donated to the Bureau of Anatomical Services for the advancement of Medical Education and Research, LSU Health Science Center in New Orleans.

Three years and eight months later, his ashes were returned home.

His eulogy reflected his thoughts about this, too.

“Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow,” he said in his eulogy. “If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all my prejudice against my fellow man.”

Although Josefina doesn’t know how his body was used, she is confident he helped others just as he had hoped.

“Charlie was this humble man in the Stetson hat, a very giving man, always offering and willing to help others.” – Former Parish Ag Agent Rene’ Schmit

In a tribute by former parish Ag Agent Rene’ G. Schmit, he recounted Campbell’s passion for agriculture and his animal husbandry degree from McNeese College. Campbell’s contribution to agriculture “extends well beyond just that of his career participation and include a life-long involvement in various agriculture support programs and many that he continued an active participation in regularly well after retirement.”

Schmit said he was among the first to welcome him as the new county agent for the parish.

“Charlie was this humble man in the Stetson hat, a very giving man, always offering and willing to help others,” he said. “The agriculture community has lost an icon, but I will always remember Charles Campbell for his advocacy, love and contributions to agriculture.”

He even found a way to help in death.

Josefina added, “He wanted to be an inspiration even with his body.”

She was 100 percent in support of her husband’s decision, and it’s also one she has made herself.

“If you love somebody, the years with you never go away, but I feel like I needed closure,” Josefina said. “The box they sent the ashes in, I didn’t throw it away. There’s a flower bouquet in it.”

Reflecting on Campbell’s devotion to doing good things in life, she thinks about the words from his eulogy and how it worked out.

“Give my soul to God,” he concluded in his eulogy. “If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.”

Donating a body to science

  • LSU’s Bureau of Anatomical Services (BAS) accepts remains for medical education and research with the LSU Schools of Medicine or Dentistry at New Orleans, LSU School of Medicine at Shreveport or Tulane University Medical Center.
  • BAS doesn’t pay for remains, but it relieves survivors of the majority of expenses of burial. It arranges and pays the expenses for transporting remains of registered donors whose death occurs within 200 miles of New Orleans.
  • To donate a body, visit BAS for requirements, including completing the donation form at www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/cell_biology/anatomical_services.aspx. The form must be completed and on file at least 60 days before death.
About Anna Thibodeaux 1967 Articles
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