Campbell dies unexpectedly

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James Ivor Campbell, 46, Idyllwild recreation director, died Thursday, March 19, at his home in Idyllwild reportedly of complications from a blood clot in his lungs associated with a hereditary blood disease called Factor V Leiden.

Discovered by a friend shortly after 1 p.m., Campbell had apparently been dead for several hours by the time Idyllwild Fire paramedics reached him. He had been home sick with bronchitis and the beginnings of pneumonia, according to former father-in-law and retired U.S. Forest Service Public Information Officer Pat Boss.

Boss said Campbell had been diagnosed in 1998 with Factor V, a hereditary condition characterized by excessive clotting commonly treated with blood thinners. Boss said Campbell had been “real dizzy” several days before his death and had passed out the day before.

“I was in the house that morning [March 19], at 9 a.m,” said Boss. “Jimmy said he was feeling better.” Boss said that, according to the Riverside County Coroner’s office, a clot broke loose and went to his lungs. When a clot reaches the lungs, it can block a pulmonary blood vessel and cause a pulmonary embolism. With Factor V Leiden, doctors recommend regular blood panels and regular use of blood thinning medication. At the time of his death, Campbell had no personal health insurance. Boss said Campbell also suffered from emphysema.

A western Pennsylvania native and an ardent Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Jimmy, as everyone called him, was larger than life — never without a smile or his trademark, good guy enthusiasm. Prior to becoming recreation director on Nov. 20, 2006, Campbell served as acting public information officer with the U.S. Forest Service. “When Jimmy and I ran the front office there was never a bad day,” Boss remembered. “When people came in [to the front office] you could hear the laughter. People would say, ‘Oh Jimmy, I’m so glad you’re here. He was so brilliant in how he treated people. No question was dumb. He would answer all questions with truthfulness and respect. He hiked the trails with his kids so that he could give proper directions to tourists.”

Campbell graduated in business management from Slippery Rock University (The Rock) near Pittsburgh. He moved to Idyllwild in 2001.

He leaves behind four young children, all of elementary school age. Campbell had been raising them as a single parent.

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