David Scott Campbell, 25, was born on a sunny Sept. 13, 1988 in Worcester, the third child of Scott and Ruth (Manley) Campbell.
He was the adored brother of sisters Rose and Colleen, who gave him the competition he might have longed for in a brother, yet fostered the sweetness and gentleness not often found in a competitive athlete. They referred to him as The Prince.
Davey’s band of brothers increased with every team he played on until his last day.
A child born of two athletic families, his athletic grandfathers and uncles loved helping him discover a new sport, watching him beating them, and then cheering him from the stands or the field. Davey loved the game, any game. Even as a toddler his favorite words seemed to be “one more time.”
Summers and school vacations were spent at the farmhouse in Hardwick. Soccer and basketball camps, family croquet and tennis games, swimming and picnics turned days into evenings at the cottage with aunts, uncles and cousins. He loved to jump off the railroad trestle into the cool, clear waters of the Swift River at the “secret spot.” He pledged his allowance for the rest of his life if his parents would let Tinkerbell, his little Sheltie dog, join the family.
His dad, Scott, eagerly agreed to be a stay-at-home dad while mom took a position to teach art at the Tisbury School, and their days were filled with discoveries — seining with handmade nets at Seth’s Pond, sailing homemade boats in puddles, fishing and all the joys of being.
He waved goodbye at the airport to President and Mrs. Clinton.
School was exciting for Dave. It meant more brothers, more games and an opportunity to write, for although he was a good reader, he loved to hear a story and listen to a teacher tell a story from history. After attending Island Children’s School, he progressed to the West Tisbury School for magical trips to watch whales, climb high on the Shenandoah and publish his first book, My Trip to the Dentist, which explained the amazing spit sucker.
During his elementary years, he became one of the original AFC soccer players. A premier travel soccer team, it was coached by friend and mentor Mark Taylor and assisted by his dad Scott. He stayed with AFC until early adulthood and traveled to Florida, Nevada and Virginia Beach, as well as many neighboring states for tournaments.
As a charter member of Vineyard Youth Tennis in third grade, he and the brothers and Grace Bocccicio, his coach, lobbied for and eventually came to see the Vineyard Youth Tennis facility built. He was lucky to squeak a win out of Zack Sylvia, his most brotherly of brothers, to win the VYT trophy. They were neck-and-neck in competition throughout high school. While he played competitive tennis and soccer outside of school sports, being a West Tisbury Hawk gave him his first taste of interscholastic competition. Pitching the last game to win the all-Island baseball championship was a special thrill for the brothers, and his much admired coach and teacher John Custer.
An auditory learner, Davey could memorize and retell lessons from history, lengthy jokes, segments of comedy, Greek myths and especially music of all genres, which he loved passionately. Self-taught on the guitar, Dave had a strong singing voice and the ability to mimic anything he heard. He was a highly accomplished whistler. And as a spot-on mimic, Davey brought to all a laugh, smile and hysterically funny moments. This was apparent early, when as a toddler he went to see Cinderella at the cinema and weeks later came downstairs half dressed, claiming in a sweet lisping voice he “had nothing suitable to wear.”
With middle school ending, feeling typecast as a jock, he was accepted to Cushing Academy in Ashburnham. He hoped to find out if he was smart academically, which he did. Two years at Cushing brought more brothers in soccer, golf and hockey, but he may have been happiest being the school’s unbeaten ping-pong champ. Cushing is known as a feeder school for professional hockey, and he counted among his friends several present-day hockey professionals. Delighted to be on Cushing’s golf team with Chris Bourke, Dave enjoyed schooling Chris on the links, as he could never hope to in hockey.
Having proven himself academically as well as athletically, he joyfully returned to finish high school at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and took his place back on the field or ice with his brothers. Championships, a special girlfriend and family gave him a satisfied finish to high school. With both sisters at college, he got to be an only child for a while.
Dave was recruited to attend college at Merrimack, a division one school in Andover. He was a fast, accurate and strong athlete. Though not tall or large of girth, he played varsity soccer, as well as hockey and varsity tennis. He transferred to Bridgewater State University as a sophomore to become roommates with his sister Colleen. As a Bear, he played varsity soccer, hockey and tennis, playing first singles to win Little East.
At Bridgewater he played many games, but perhaps his favorites were fierce croquet competitions with brothers, roommates and a tough competitor, his sister Colleen.
Especially proud of his Scottish heritage and dreaming of St. Andrews, Davey got his first and only tattoo, the Campbell Clan crest, and began to dream of golf. Before graduating from Bridgewater in 2012, he had a new roommate called Bell, another Sheltie and successor to his beloved Tinkerbell. He also had another special girl.
Back at home after graduating from Bridgewater, he took up working again at the Vineyard Golf Club, where he maintained greens for four summers.
Of all his sports, golf had won his heart and he took special pride in mowing the greens as perfectly as possible and then photographing them. In his extra time, he would often help his sister Rose with the heavy work for her gardening business.
A favorite Dave story was when, having just completed mowing a green, he saw President Obama approaching. He lifted the blade and while pretending to mow watched the president putt 15 feet from him. He appraised the president as “a decent golfer, but one that needed to improve his putting."
His reward for a long day of working on the greens at Vineyard Golf Club was to be able to play the course. He would often race home to change into his golf clothes and return to the course for 18 holes. The links-style course was breathtakingly beautiful and challenging to him. He walked all 18 holes most often alone, understanding that golf is a game you play against yourself. Friends and family were not surprised to learn that of all sports, golf was to be his passion. Davey had decided to pursue the long PGA course to becoming a professional golfer, working to break 70, feeling a hole in one was getting closer. He was working to earn enough for his war chest to go on the road.
Long before this, Davey had been fortunate to play some of the best courses in the U.S. with his mentor, Mark Taylor, and dear friend, Jeff.
As a communications major at Bridgewater, Davey had begun planning a co-authored series of golf guides with his mother, brainstorming which top clubs they might target.
Dave died following a terrible automobile crash on Oct. 7, one street from his home. His memorial service was held Oct. 13 at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury, where as a tiny boy Dave and his father had hammered shingles together. Family, friends and community gathered to say goodbye in a gathering beautifully led by the Rev. Cathlin Baker of the West Tisbury First Congregational Church. The weather was particularly good, perfect for golfing.
Lauren Keaney Serpa, beloved teacher, spoke of his youth. Sisters Rose and Colleen spoke of his love of family, and Jeff Taylor returned from California to speak for friends and team. Songs from Tom Rush and Coldplay were played.
A wonderful slide show and musical tribute was created by family friend Mariah Carroll and her band. As the barn doors opened and the service concluded, Island bagpiper Tony Peak played a mournful Going Home. Joey Cappabianco organized the gathering and cooked for all, assisted by many helping hands and contributions of food from friends and Island businesses.
David is survived by his mom and dad, sisters Colleen and Rose, his grandmother, grandfather, many aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, brothers and Bell.
The family is grateful to the first responders, who were so respectful and gentle, and for the many kindnesses of food, friendship, cards, hugs and flowers.
Donations in his memory may be sent to the Martha’s Vineyard Arena.