Obituary: Douglas Goetze Campbell, 90, Ring’s End owner

Douglas Goetze Campbell
Douglas Goetze Campbell

Douglas Goetze Campbell, 90, passed away peacefully at home December 17, 2018, on Sanibel Island in Florida. His wife of almost 67 years, Sandra Woodworth Campbell, was by his side along with his four children.

Doug was born in Brooklyn, New York but spent his youth in New Canaan, CT. He attended Center Elementary School, Saxe Middle School and graduated from New Canaan High School. He went on to attend and graduate from his beloved Colgate University in 1950, and was immediately commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy. He received his pilot and Naval intelligence training at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.

He and Sandra were married in 1952 and were relocated to the Oakland Naval Air Station in California during the Korean War where Doug worked in Intelligence with Navy Air. He was stationed in Japan for almost one year during the war. Doug and Sandra had their first two children, David and Rob, during their years in California. When Doug returned from the Navy, he and Sandra returned to Connecticut, bought a home on Briar Brae Road in Darien and had two more children, daughters Sally and Nancy. Doug was hired by Ring’s Fuel Company, now known as Ring’s End Inc., having worked there one summer in high school. Doug eventually became the principal owner and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ring’s End. Under Doug’s leadership, Ring’s End expanded from two to twenty eight locations.  

Doug also was a dedicated community leader as a member of the Darien Police Commission, the Darien Chamber of Commerce, and Board of Directors of Stamford Hospital, where he served as Chairman of the Board. He was also active in Connecticut politics, and served on the Board of Directors of several organizations, including Lumbermen’s Merchandising Corporation, Dykes Lumber Company and Lumber Mutual Insurance Company. For most of his life, Doug was actively involved with Colgate University, serving on the Board of Directors of its Alumni Corporation (and as its President) and serving for fifteen years as a member of Colgate’s Board of Trustees.

Doug and Sandra moved their expanded family to Noroton Bay in Darien, CT, close to the Noroton Yacht Club where he and Sandra first met as teenagers. Sailing was their sport. Doug was the Skipper and Sandra was his crew. They always said if you can get along on a boat, marriage should be easy. Doug grew up sailing Star class boats, and moved on to larger fleet boats, participating in numerous weekly and overnight races with family and friends. He and Sandra enjoyed cruising immensely and traveled all along the northeast coastline on their sailboat, often with their children. They switched to a power boat in 1997 and continued trips as far north as Montreal and south to Florida. They spent most of 12 years living on their beloved boat Highlander, built by their nephew, on the Inland Waterway in Florida. They bought a home in Sanibel in 2009 and have enjoyed summers and holidays visiting family in CT.

Doug and Sandra were life-long members of Noroton Yacht Club and Doug served as Commodore of the Club. They were also members of the Captiva Island Yacht Club.

Doug is survived by his wife Sandra, his son David Campbell of Darien, CT; son Rob Campbell and wife, Meg, of Wilton, CT; daughter Sally Campbell and husband, Murray Decock of Hamilton, NY, and daughter Nancy Herling and husband, Mike Herling of Darien, CT; and one brother Colin Campbell. He is also survived by thirteen devoted grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Service will take place in the Spring. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in Doug’s memory to Darien EMS — Post 53 in Darien, CT or to the Campbell Scholarship (for Financial Aid) at Colgate University.