Wilma Ann Campbell

Wilma Ann (Whitinger) Campbell, an inspiration and teacher to many, passed away peacefully at the age of 86, on January 13, 2023. Wilma Ann was born to Elwood Edward and Eunice May (Fladeboe) Whitinger, on September 19, 1936, in Charlotte, Michigan.  She was the second child of a talented family of six.  Her parents recognized early the musical ability Wilma had and she began dance lessons at the age of three.  She was a good student, and participated in many extracurricular activities: band, cheerleading, plays, and had many lifelong friends in the CHS class of 1954.
Wilma had an opportunity through her Lansing dance teacher to open her own studio in Charlotte. During her senior year, she became the owner and teacher of her very own dance studio.  Soon after she had a blind date with a handsome young man from Olivet, and the couple fell in love. Both Norm and Wilma were ambitious yet family oriented, so while Wilma taught dance classes, Norm attended General Motors Institute in Flint. Once married, it wasn’t long before Norm was an engineer at GM and they had three children to add to their happiness.
Wilma owned the Campbell Dance Studio for 41 years where she and daughters Lori and Mary Jo taught classes.  Many dancers started as toddlers and continued through high school and beyond.  Hundreds of students and their families became part of the family of Campbell dancers over several decades.
During her career Wilma was able to study with tap-greats at various workshops and conventions in Chicago, New York, LA, and Las Vegas.  Her continued education with the art of dance never stopped, whether learning or teaching it.  Her annual dance recitals were wonderful productions. The dancers especially looked forward to performing and many fond memories were made.  She was a pro at enlisting people to help with behind-the-scenes projects, as well as getting a reluctant person to perform.  One did not say “no” to Wilma.
Wilma formed the “Dancing Deputies” group to perform as the local entertainment for Charlotte’s annual Frontier Days festival.  She was passionate about bringing entertainment to her community.  Her dancers performed in talent shows, chorus line and band bounces for the CHS band, along with the Lowell and Chesaning Showboats as well as many other venues.
As the years went by, she was delighted to add more family, with in-laws, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  She was adept to social media so was able to stay in touch with her grand and greats and extended family and friends. She made all who knew her feel special and loved.  Her very large extended family on both sides of the family tree benefited from her positive nature, kindness, and life lessons along the way.
During retirement Wilma and Norm enjoyed life on the road in an RV, life in Florida during the winter, and at their haven at Sugar Springs near Gladwin, MI.  The grandchildren have many fond memories of golf camp, fishing trips, and swimming either in the lake or the clubhouse pool.  Much special time was spent with the grandparents. Wilma’s favorite pastime at the lake was the sunset rides on the pontoon when the weather suited her just right.
Wilma returned to live in Charlotte once Norm passed away in 2003. It was great to have her home and  close to family again.   It didn’t take her long to become involved again with the Eaton Area Senior Center.  She was once again able to be either direct or be part of their variety shows and entertainment.  She taught computer lessons to seniors to keep up with modern technology.
Wilma is survived by her children, Lori (Steve) Coplin, Andy (Karen) Campbell, Mary Jo (David Hosey) Campbell;  grandchildren, Jason Mills, Ryan (Nicci) Baum, Kindra (Larry) Smith,  Patrick Baum, Holly (Chip) Nevins; great-grandchildren, Dayton Cubis, Lincoln Baum; Camden, Caysen, Colbie Nevins; Rozlyn, Molly, Brady Smith; brother, John (Sue) Whitinger; brothers-in-law, Gerry Campbell, Brian (Sharon) Campbell, Gerry (Patti) Congleton; many nieces, nephews and their children; as well as cousins and their families; and several of her life-long friends. She was predeceased by her parents; her husband, Norm; parents-in-law, George and Bea Campbell; sisters, Lucille Tuckey, Marion Whitinger, Leila Whitinger, Linda (Matt) Silvas; in-laws, David (Judy) Campbell, Daniel Campbell, Shirley Campbell; son-in-law, Rex D. Baum; daughter-in-law, Cammi D. Campbell; and grandson, Corey A. Campbell.
Friends are encouraged to support Wilma’s family by attending services or sharing memories on her Tribute Page at www.prayfuneral.com. The family received visitors Friday, January 20th at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte. A Celebration of Life service was held Saturday, January 21st at 2:00 p.m. at Charlotte Assembly of God. The funeral was webcast so you may watch it from any computer, smartphone, or mobile device that has internet access. Go to www.prayfuneral.com, click on Wilma’s tribute, then click on Photos and Videos from your computer (or Media from your smart phone). If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Eaton Area Senior Center or SIREN of Charlotte. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.