By: Sharon Aron Baron
Coral Springs Mayor and former State Senator Walter “Skip” Campbell died on Tuesday, shocking residents and colleagues.
Campbell, who was 69, underwent hip surgery two weeks ago. He was on the road to recovery, and the cause of death is unknown at this time.
Campbell was born in Rockaway Beach, New York and moved to Florida in 1961. He attended the St. John Vianney College Seminary, receiving his associate degree. Then attended the University of Florida, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1970 and his Juris Doctor in 1973 – always remaining a proud Gator.
Campbell founded the law firm now called Krupnick Campbell Malone Buser Slama Hancock Liberman, with Jon Krupnick in 1975 and worked as an adjunct professor at the Shepard Broad Law Center.
Campbell served in the Florida Senate from 1996 to 2006. He also ran unsuccessfully for Florida Attorney General in 2006.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz served with Campbell in the State Senate said: “We lost one of the giants of justice and public service last night.”
She said he was a colleague, a lawyer who was a champion of civil liberties and protecting those who could not defend themselves, and a dedicated public servant who was devoted to his constituents. He was my seatmate in the Florida Senate and was quick-witted, fun-loving, and always ready to reach across the aisle or bridge a divide to solve problems.
“I was privileged to serve with him, fortunate to know him and honored to call him a friend. Steve and I extend our condolences to Lynn, his children, and siblings, who he talked about often and loved dearly. May his memory be for a blessing,” said Wasserman Schultz.
In 2014, Campbell ran for mayor of Coral Springs and was re-elected without opposition in 2016 and once again this year. A special election will be planned to fill his seat in March 2019.
Commissioner Dan Daley, who suspended his reelection campaign until further notice, said Skip Campbell was a legend not only in the legal community, but his years of public service and commitment to others made him a giant throughout the state. Known as the consummate diplomat, he sought the middle ground to make government work for the people.
“I’ve had the good fortune to know Skip Campbell for several years and in many ways, looked up to him for his wisdom and guidance. Skip was a colleague, mentor, and friend. My thoughts are with Lynn and the Campbell family at this difficult time.”
Commissioner Joy Carter said that she was honored to have had four years of service with Campbell, who was a terrific leader, a smart businessman, a great mentor, and a friend.
“My heart is broken over the sudden loss of a friend,” said Commissioner Joy Carter. “Thirty-four years ago, when I visited Coral Springs, I met Skip and Lynn Campbell. One of my dad’s business partners was building his home. Had you told me then, that Skip and I would serve the residents of Coral Springs together, I would have thought you were nuts. I didn’t even like public speaking. You just don’t know where life’s journey will take you, so savor the ride.”
Campbell is survived by his wife, Lynn, their children, Christina and Daniel, sisters Maureen and Kathleen, brother John, three grandchildren, as well as extended family and friends.
Services for Mayor Campbell:
Friday October 26, 2018 3 p.m. -7 p.m.
Coral Springs City Hall
9500 West Sample Road
Coral Springs, FL
Saturday October 27, 2018 11 a.m.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church
1401 Coral Ridge Drive
Coral Springs, FL
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations are sent to the Community Foundation of Broward, 910 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33301, earmarked for the Muriel T. Campbell Memorial Fund. The fund benefits local charities that Skip Campbell set up after his mother died.