On June 20, 2019, a beautiful summer morning, Emilie J. Campbell, age 91, passed away peacefully in the leafy Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, IL. Emilie was born September 26, 1927 in Traunik, MI, the youngest of four (4) children born to Joseph and Mary (nee Sterle) Knaus who came to America from Yugoslavia.
Emilie’s brother Albin, the oldest, died in Italy during WWII while Emilie was a teenager back on the Farm in Traunik. “Milka” remained close with her older sisters, Mary and Jo, especially in later years during the holidays and family get togethers.
Emilie spoke highly and often of her elementary school teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Kehoe, who gave her a lifelong appreciation of poetry, proper handwriting, hard work and good manners. After graduating Eben High School, Emilie worked and attended cosmetology school in Waukegan, WI, yet kept in touch with a young man back home, her future husband William J. (“Bill”) Campbell of Melstrand, MI.
Emilie and Bill were married on December 9, 1950. Together, they raised seven (7) children during their 53-year marriage, five daughters and two sons. With their strong wills that saw them through good times and bad, Emilie and Bill were especially proud to see all of their children graduate from college. Bill preceded Emilie in death in 2003. Bill’s sales career with AFLAC led the family to North Carolina for a time, but Bill’s advancement with the company brought the couple and the children back to Michigan in 1971 where they settled in East Lansing, MI. Bill and Em also enjoyed visiting with family at their winter home in St. Pete Beach, FL and taking long walks along the beach.
Emilie was a devout Catholic and member of St. Rita Parish in Trenary and St. Thomas Aquinas in East Lansing. She thoroughly enjoyed Michigan State Hockey games and polka dancing with her grandchildren at the Traunik Town Hall. Emilie always embraced cooking big Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the entire family. These occasions allowed her to share traditional Slovenian recipes with her children, comfort foods like potica, goulash and zganci. Emilie also had an excellent fashion sense and solid design and sewing skills. She would remind us that her father Joe apprenticed as a tailor in Europe and taught her tricks of the trade. Using these talents, Emilie created stylish dresses and ballet and ice-skating outfits for her daughters.
Emilie was a notorious Night Owl who spent many evenings solving crossword puzzles, drawing rabbits and carrots in the margins of her newspaper and waiting up for her kids. She would hold these late night vigils at the kitchen table with a cup of hot cocoa in hand.
Emilie is survived by her children, Albin (Penny) Campbell, Paulette Campbell, Marla (Kurt) Richards, Lisa (John) Wethern, Scott (Alice) Campbell, Jessica (Joel) Streightiff and Mary (Edward) Hoffman; 16 grandchildren and four (4) great grandchildren.
Visitation will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Saturday, July 13, 2019 at St. Rita Catholic Church, N1059 E. 1st Avenue, Trenary, MI 49891. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, with Father Joseph Vandannoor officiating. Interment will be in Mathias Township Cemetery in Trenary, MI.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials please be directed to St. Rita Parish in Trenary, MI.
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