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

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN