Campbell worked hard for Janesville

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Monday, February 4, 2008
— Terry Campbell started threatening to retire 25 years ago when he got out of the restaurant business.

Two weeks before his death, he still was working on real estate projects at his home in Estero, Fla.

Campbell, a Janesville native and long-time entrepreneur, died Saturday morning after a brief battle with liver and pancreatic cancer.

He was 61.

“He was going to retire 25 years ago,” said Janesville resident Tom Wolfe. “It was not long after he sold his restaurants that he bought the athletic club. Then he was going to sell it and retire again. But he wouldn’t have. He was always doing something.”

Campbell bought the Supreme Court, a former racquetball center, in 1987 and turned it into the Janesville Athletic Club, 1301 Black Bridge Road, Wolfe said.

In 1997, Campbell bought the former Woolworth’s building at 15 W. Milwaukee St., Janesville, and turned it into Riverfront Centre, with an athletic club, spa and offices.

Later, he became the first chairman of the Downtown Development Alliance, said Janesville resident Jackie Wood.

He sold the athletic clubs in 1999.

Campbell’s efforts to improve downtown will not be forgotten, said Millie Babcock, who owns Babcock Signs, 966 Center Ave., Janesville, with her husband, Dave.

“Terry will always be remembered for his vision,” Babcock said. “He was truly an advocate of Janesville and downtown.”

After graduating from Janesville High School in 1964, Campbell attended UW-Rock County and UW-La Crosse. He served in the Army Reserves from 1966 to 1972.

In the 1970s, Campbell owned and ran Selen’s restaurants in Cudahy, Madison and Janesville. After selling the Selen’s name, he continued to own the Janesville property, which later was home to several restaurants, including Diana’s, Stephan’s, Campi’s and Los Pinos. Campbell eventually razed the restaurant at 4323 Milton Ave. and built a development that now is home to an M&I Bank branch.

He also was involved in his family’s Campbell Oil Co. and owned several service stations.

Campbell was in charge of the Janesville project to renovate the site into the bank, which opened in 2007. Campbell had plans for another building on an adjacent site, Wolfe said.

Wolfe lived next to Campbell for 23 years on Janesville’s east side. He said Campbell was a devoted father and grandfather. Campbell’s most devoted business partner was his wife, Carol, whom he married in 1967.

When Campbell’s daughters started their own families, they lived on the same street as their parents, Wolfe said. When Terry and Carol moved to Florida, their two daughters and five grandchildren moved to the same neighborhood.

Babcock said Carol and Terry were a special couple with the utmost respect for each other.

“Their two daughters and grandchildren were their world,” Babcock said.

The couple also were active with St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Janesville and their church in Estero, Babcock said.

Wood has known Campbell since childhood, when she was a friend of his sister.

“What delighted me in Terry, as an adult, he came to the downtown and bought buildings,” Wood said. “He not only bought buildings, he decided to take a hold of the downtown and move it forward.

“He was just somebody that did a good job. He didn’t do anything unless he did it right.”

Last updated: 5:37 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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