Sunday, August 26, 2007

Losing another of The Greatest Generation

Richard "Dick" Campagna died Friday. He was 81.

Dick was one of those people who make a community work. He served his country in World War II, came home to Kenosha to marry and raise a family, was active in his church and community and did the things we expect productive citizens to do.

Dick was the son-in-law of Oscar Wettengel, a man who made his living selling and fixing typewriters and adding machines. Oscar eventually turned the business over to Dick and later on Dick's son, John, joined Dick in fixing the myriad of business and office machines that went from mechanics to electronics. There aren't a lot of people who can fix typewriters. Dick could.

Dick didn't just do the work, he provided service. His station wagon was a familiar site around Kenosha businesses and government offices as he installed and serviced typewriters, printers, calculators and the like. His wit and wisdom, as well as his skills, will be missed.

Dick was 81 when he died but he really never seemed "old." He took a hard hit a few years ago when John died at an unexpectedly young age. But Dick pressed on.

In a good sense, Dick was a bit of a character. That's a precious quality that is becoming more scarce by the day.

I often repeat Charles Kuralt's observation that when Americans runs out of characters, it will have lost its character.

Kenosha lost its typewriter repairman -- and another character.

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