Tahlequah Daily Press

Z_CNHI News Service

February 23, 2014

From hobby to legacy

ENID, Okla. — These days, it’s not unusual for John Campbell to be up until dawn working in his dark room.

“I’ll look around (in the morning) and think, ‘Wow, it got kinda light out,’” Campbell, of Enid, said with a hearty laugh Saturday. “My son (Doug Nakvinda) will come in and say, ‘Dad, did you stay up all night again?’”

Located in the back of his house — beyond little pink bicycles and toy houses of his granddaughter on the carpet, dozens of eagle figurines and photos of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren — the office contains what Campbell calls his “legacy”: upwards of 500,000 photographs, slides and negatives of planes, mostly military.

And, as a reminder that things could be worse, a framed photo of Albert Einstein sits over his desk, “because that’s a bad hair day,” he said.

He doesn’t have an exact number of the size of his archive, though.

“Back in 2007, I pushed through like two-thirds of this collection, and I couldn’t get through it,” he said.

Even though Campbell since has moved to digital file archives, he keeps all the airplane photos, negatives and slides in colored binders, filling four or so bookshelves. He doesn’t know how many binders line them.

“Everything’s going digital. I used to hate it, but I got stacks of discs this high now,” Campbell said, spreading his index fingers a foot apart.

The walls of the room not covered by bookshelves have been lined with framed photos of aviators, famed sound barrier-breaker Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager among them, as well as airplanes, including a restored B-29 at Tinker Air Force Base (during the investigation of which he broke both his arms).

His latest collections include photos of Russian airplanes, placed in red binders, and three boxes of photos of the Navy’s Blue Angels demonstration team, who change pilots, but have flown F/A-18 Hornet planes since 1992. Currently, Campbell is doing a write-up of the Fifth Air Force’s WWII 90th Bombardment Group of B-24 Liberators, known as the “Jolly Rogers” for the skull-and-crossed bombs on their tail fins.

 

A custodian

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Stocks