R. Bruce Campbell was a real estate property manager, city volunteer firefighter and also competed in fishing tournaments.
R. Bruce Campbell was a real estate property manager, city volunteer firefighter and also competed in fishing tournaments. (Handout)

R. Bruce Campbell, who owned a real estate management business and was a volunteer firefighter, died of pancreatic cancer March 18 at his Homeland home. He was 76.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Northwood, he was the son of Wallace H. Campbell, who founded the family property management business, and his wife, Elfrieda "Fritzi" Siebert,


He attended the Montebello School and was a 1959 graduate of the Gilman School.

He attended Cornell University and obtained a degree in chemical engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park.

While in college he joined the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George's County. He remained active in volunteer firefighting for many years.

He was also an Ocean City lifeguard, and one day on the beach he met his future wife, Elaine Powell.

Mr. Campbell joined his father in the family business of real estate management. They managed numerous apartment, condominium and residential communities.

At one time he owned and managed the Northwood Apartments on Loch Raven Boulevard. He later managed the Harper House at the Village of Cross Keys and the Cloister Gate townhouse community on Bellona Avenue in Woodbrook.

Mr. Campbell worked in a Cedarcroft office on York Road where he kept three fire scanners on his desk. He remained an auxiliary member of the Baltimore City Fire Department and was assigned to Engine 4 on Cold Spring Lane in Northeast Baltimore.

"My father kept his turnout gear in his car," said his son, Curtis H. Campbell. "When I was a little boy, he would take me on calls in the middle of the night.

"He was a real life hero to me," his son said.

His said his father fought many large fires in his years with Engine 4. He responded to fires that burned on Baltimore's old harbor piers and in downtown warehouses in the 1960s and 1970s. He also helped extinguish fires associated with the 1968 riots. He fought fires on Howard Street, at the old Hochschild Kohn department store building at the old City College, later known as Bay College.

Mr. Campbell, as a member of Engine 4, responded to the plane crash incident at the old Memorial Stadium on Dec. 19, 1976. The plane crashed a Piper Cherokee into the upper deck shortly after the end of a Baltimore Colts-Pittsburgh Steelers game. The pilot survived but was charged with reckless flying. No spectators were injured.

A 1974 News American article described how Mr. Campbell helped save two girls from a burning home on Northern Parkway. He found the two children, ages 5 and 2, in a smoke-filled bedroom. According to the article, he entered the home and had to retreat to get air masks. He then re-entered and found one of unconscious sisters and administered artificial respiration outside. Another firefighter brought the other girl out. The sisters later recovered.

Mr. Campbell was considered a mentor to those entering the real estate property management business. He was a certified property manager, a title he earned through the Institute of Real Estate Management. He joined its national faculty and gave teaching seminars throughout the country.

"My father said his greatest joy was teaching others in the profession," said his son, who explained that his father had a knowledge of building construction including roofing, plumbing and electrical issues.


He received the Lloyd D. Hanford Sr. Distinguished Faculty Award in 1991 from the nonprofit Institute of Real Estate Management. He was active with real estate industry lobbying efforts in Baltimore and at the Maryland General Assembly.

"My father never retired," said his son. "He said he didn't believe in it."

Mr. Campbell was also a member of both the board and the foundation board for the Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

He spent his summer weekends at Ocean City and owned a sport fishing boat, the Reel Estate. He and his son went out 50 miles into the Atlantic and fished for marlin during the resort's annual White Marlin Tournament. Mr. Campbell was part of a fishing team that caught two marlin in 2013 and 2016.

He was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, where a life celebration was held Friday.

In addition to his wife of 52 years and son, survivors include a daughter, Tatum C. DiGiovanni of Baltimore; and six grandchildren.