Kathy Lynn Campbell was born April 22, 1954 to Charles and Wilma Tom.
Kathy graduated from West Plains High School and attended SMSU-WP before completing her Bachelors of Elementary Education at the Springfield Campus. In 1991, she graduated with her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Mizzou.
She was the mother of Christopher and Lauren. For them (and others), Kathy was a constant, a light, and an unwavering cheerleader.
For a period of time, Kathy worked as a real estate agent and continued to maintain an active license. She was also a travel agent, a position that prepared her for lovingly coordinating travel for her family whenever the opportunity arose. Her real passions were learning and teaching; at an early age, she knew that she wanted to be a teacher, regularly assigning “homework” to the neighbor kids while growing up in Nebraska and Missouri.
She taught at Friendship Circle Preschool before her 43-year career at Howell Valley School. Beyond the role of teacher, Kathy provided a safe space for countless students. She believed in everyone and always championed for the underdog.
Kathy also taught Psychology and Sociology at MSU-WP for 19 years. She looked forward to instructing her Thursday night classes and took tremendous pride in keeping up with her research in hopes of offering the newest and most interesting information available to her students.
The same principles that she used in her work with 1st-8th graders were brought to her college classroom as well. She loved connecting with students, of all ages, in a way that allowed for them to have a greater understanding of their own values and capacities.
Kathy was a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority for Teachers for over 35 years and appreciated the opportunity to connect with her sisters who found a shared sense of meaning in the field. She also served with West Plains Council on the Arts, an organization whose mission and its people were very special to her.
Kathy was a creative. She was unconventional in her approach to life and teaching and often challenged societal expectations; she encouraged others to live and think “outside the box” and to be their most authentic selves, too. No matter one’s status or circumstances, a person always had a sense of belonging with her. She loved with a great depth.
Kathy found humor in almost every situation and was skilled in bringing out playfulness in others (she took particular joy in getting straight-laced people to participate in silliness with her). She was incredibly courageous and an inspiration to others.
She enjoyed live theater, traveling, reading, shopping, spending time with her family, and finding opportunities to contribute.
Kathy was surrounded by loved ones who were and continue to be witnesses to her life. Among them are her children, Christopher and Lauren; her brother, Chuck Tom; several nieces and nephews; and many friends, all of whom meant a great deal to her.
In lieu of sending flowers, the family encourages those wishing to honor Kathy to plant something colorful in her memory.