Bob Campbell is pictured singing in this video still shot.
I woke up this morning to sad news. Staunton’s Bob Campbell, who sang for years with the Coachmen, a regional gospel-country quartet, passed away last night. His nephew Chris announced it on Facebook.
It brought back some memories. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a group of local residents worked with “From Our Hearts,” organized by Dianne and Benny Rankin who owned T-Bone Tooter restaurant in Churchville, to fill care packages for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Often we would meet at the restaurant before it opened to form an assembly line to pack boxes, print mailing labels, and get another stack ready to mail halfway around the world. Occasionally we would hang around on the porch for dinner.
Sometimes Bob entertained diners. I can still see him on the front porch singing in his laid-back way, with a smile on his face because he was doing something he loved.
For some reason, the song that sticks in my mind is that old Keith Whitley tune, “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” Bob nailed it.
A lot has happened since those days. Benny passed away in March 2018 after battling heart disease. The restaurant has been passed on to others and now operates under another name. But this morning Dianne added her thoughts on Bob’s passing, posting on my Facebook page:
Heaven has gained 2 new angels these last couple months. I know Benny Rankin was at heavens gate with open arms to greet his friend along with many others. Both of these great people will be missed greatly by the community. Thank you so much Lynn Randall Mitchell for sharing the memory of such a great friend and the good times of our restaurant, T Bone Tooter. Prayers to Tracy Campbell, Wanda Campbell and all his family during this time for healing.
Prayers for all Bob’s family and friends … he will be fondly remembered.
Bob Campbell sings “Sweet Virginia” beginning at 2:25.
A love song to Staunton where the Coachmen are from, written and performed by Chris Campbell. For those who were raised in Staunton, have left Staunton, have moved to Staunton and love the place … whether you’re from-heres or come-heres, you will recognize many of the landmarks in this video. If you’ve moved away, get ready to be homesick.