Date: November 3, 2017


*Chief of Staff named official Victims’ Rights Counsel in his honor

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) honors and remembers the life of Gary Campbell, who worked diligently alongside his wife of 66 years, Collene Campbell, advocating for victims’ rights within the justice system, including Marsy’s Law and most recently the preservation of the death penalty. Mr. Campbell passed away Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017.

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Mr. Campbell will be held on Nov. 10, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. at Rose Hills Memorial Park in the SkyRose Chapel on 3888 Workman Mill Road in Whittier.


Mr. Campbell was born on Nov. 17, 1932, in Alhambra. He met his childhood sweetheart, Collene Thompson, in the second grade. The Campbells had two children, Scott Campbell and Shelly Campbell, as well as three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

In 1982, Scott Campbell was brutally murdered at age 27 after being lured onboard an airplane by his childhood friend, assaulted and strangled to death, then thrown out of the airplane near Catalina Island so the defendant could steal his sports car. Following the murder of his only son and the murders of his brother-in-law and best man at his wedding, Mickey Thompson (auto racing legend), and Mickey’s wife Trudy in 1988, Mr. Campbell dedicated his life to the fight against crime and spearheaded efforts to give victims a voice in the courtroom.

Mr. Campbell honorably served our country with the United States Navy Reserve from February 1951 to February 1955. During his service, Mr. Campbell was called to active duty and assigned to USS Toledo, a Heavy Cruiser, where he served in combat during the Korean War. Shortly after Mr. Campbell was honorably discharged on Feb. 6, 1955, he earned his degree in marketing and advertising from Woodbury University in Los Angeles in 1956.

Mr. Campbell had a long and distinguished career for more than four decades, working for various companies including Homes for Sale Magazine (owner), Bryan Publications, Inc., N.W. Gilson Associates, Rapid Cool Company, Argus Publishers Corporation, Herber Publishing Company, Speer & Mays Advertising Inc., Recht & Company Advertising, Gary Campbell Advertising, Los Angeles Times, Valley Litho, Inc. He also served as the owner and President of Housing Publications, Inc. where grew the business in access of $12 million in sales. After the murder of his brother-in-law Mickey Thompson, Mr. Campbell helped by serving as the President/CEO of Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group, where he directed overall operations of the nation’s fourth largest motor sports series.

In 2009, Mr. Campbell received the California Governor’s Award from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his Outstanding Leadership in Victims’ Rights. He was also honored with the Industry Leader Award by various regional Building Industry associations from 1982 to 1989, which culminated in his induction to the Building Industry Hall of Fame in 2000.


The OCDA expects all of its employees, especially its prosecutors, to advocate for Marsy’s Law. It does so by notifying victims of their rights, securing restitution, arguing for their right to be heard through all parts of the legal proceedings, including sentencing, parole hearings, and many more.

The OCDA will dedicate its already scheduled Marsy’s Law training on Dec. 14, 2017, to Mr. Campbell, victims’ rights giant. In addition to her responsibilities as Chief of Staff, Susan Kang Schroeder will now serve as the new Victims’ Rights Counsel (VRC). The VRC will act as a point person to ensure any and all complaints from crime victims are thoroughly researched and diligently followed through, formalizing some of Kang Schroeder’s current duties. Kang Schroeder has been serving Marsy’s Law for All as a senior advisor for five years. Her personal contribution has led to the passage of Marsy’s Law constitutional amendments ensuring equal rights for crime victims in Illinois, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Marsy’s Law is on the ballot on Nov. 7, 2017, in Ohio.


Collene Campbell shared, “I am extremely proud to have been Gary’s wife for 66 years.  We met in the second grade, went steady at 15 and married at 18.  I can’t imagine life without him.”

The Campbell family further commented, “As a husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, Gary provided the true meaning of loyalty, love, character, compassion, and commitment. We were very fortunate to have ‘Papa’ in our lives and are devastated to think of life without him.” 

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas stated, “Gary was always polite, always kind, and never angry. He deeply loved his wife Collene who he was with since childhood – she was part of him. He had an unbounded love for his family and a tremendous attachment to the community. He cared deeply for his children and grandchildren. He was involved with Collene in every victims’ rights initiative, as he and Collene were victims of terrible crimes that happened to their family. He was a caring, loving person and I will miss him.”

Erin Runnion, Founder of The Joyful Child Foundation, stated, “I first met Collene and Gary Campbell shortly after my daughter Samantha’s murder. Few people know the heartache of losing a child to a violent murder and their compassion and advice meant the world to me. Most couples don’t survive the loss of a child, but Gary and Collene were so in love and together, they dedicated nearly 40 years to advocating for the rights of victims and their families. I am forever grateful for their efforts on behalf of all of the innocent people impacted by violence. To know Gary Campbell was to love him and he made the world a better place for all of us.”

“Gary, along with Collene, was a fierce advocate for crime victims and their families. He was a defender of justice and we will miss him dearly,” said Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne-Marie Schubert stated, “Victims and their families across California have been profoundly impacted by the leadership of Gary Campbell.”

“Gary combined a loving heart with a warrior’s passion for justice. Together with [his wife] Collene, they changed the history of California and America,” said Steve Twist, former Chief Assistant Attorney General of Arizona and Co-Author of Marsy’s Law – the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights.

Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten commented, “Gary Campbell was a man of quiet courage and grace who together with Collene, his soul mate of nearly seven decades, profoundly changed our criminal justice system for the better.”

“Mr. Campbell and his wife are true heroes for victims of crime. They have touched thousands of survivors across our State and have used their tragic loss experience to assist those in need,” said San Bernardino District Attorney Mike Ramos.

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Gary Campbell. Mr. Campbell and his wife were instrumental in protecting victim’s rights on behalf of the family members of murdered victims. Mr. Campbell was a truly respected leader in our community. We will be eternally grateful for his time and energy as a victim’s rights advocate. My condolences to his family including his wife Collene and daughter Shelly,” commented Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steele.

Dr. Henry T. Nicholas III, founder of Marsy’s Law, stated, “Gary Campbell and his wife Collene have been a force to be reckoned with in California in the fight for better victims’ rights. They were strong supporters of the need for constitutional as well as statutory protections for victims’ rights and Gary was there with Collene when we drafted Marsy’s Law into the California Constitution in 2008.  I am so happy that he lived to see those protections through Marsy’s Law expanded into the State constitutions for Illinois, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota in the years that have followed. His dream was to see those protections become the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  I will do everything in my power to make sure that dream becomes a reality.”

To learn more about Marsy’s Law for All and the fight for victims’ rights, click here to watch a video featuring District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Collene and Gary Campbell.