Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Neighbors shocked at couple's death

PALM HARBOR — On Tuesday afternoon, neighbors saw 67-year-old retiree Don Campbell working around his yard.

A few miles away, his wife, Joanna, was answering phones as a volunteer at the First United Methodist Church of Tarpon Springs.

Nothing, it appeared, was out of the ordinary.

A day later, both were dead.

On Thursday, Pinellas County sheriff's investigators said they believe the two died in a murder-suicide, and that it was Don who pulled the trigger.

"There were no warning signs," said Doug Zipperer, senior pastor at the couple's Tarpon Springs church.

But there was a note found near their bodies, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said. However, she declined to say what it said and no other information has been released as to a possible motive.

"We can't talk about the content (of the note)," Barreda said.

The couple had lived at 433 Manor Blvd. for two decades.

Neighbors described Don Campbell, a popular former teacher at Tarpon Springs Middle School, as an outgoing person who was often outside and liked to bike and kayak. Joanna Campbell, 66, was an inside-the-house person, said Karen Magenheimer, who lives next door.

Both Don and Joanna Campbell were active at their church.

Zipperer said it was fairly well known that Joanna Campbell had been ill for some time. But he did not believe her situation to be life-threatening.

Efforts Thursday by the St. Petersburg Times to reach the couple's daughter, Kelly Campbell, were unsuccessful. But others who knew Don and Joanna Campbell were saddened, shocked and confused.

"They were fine people," Zipperer said. "It's just unbelievable."

Authorities think the couple died just after midnight Tuesday, Barreda said.

By midday Wednesday, some of the Campbell's neighbors became concerned when neither had been seen and their newspaper remained in the driveway. One neighbor had a key, so a small group entered the home to check on the couple.

That's when they discovered the grisly scene.

"This is too hard to understand," Magenheimer said. "These were two good people."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed. Keith Niebuhr can be reached at or (727) 445-4156.

Neighbors shocked at couple's death 04/02/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 2, 2009 11:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend


    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  2. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    UPDATE, 11:01: No Dickerson today as the Rays go with seven right-handers.

    Here is the lineup:

  3. Global computer outage grounds British flights


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)
  4. Road rage incident leaves uninvolved man, 52, with critical injuries in Pinellas Park


    PINELLAS PARK — A 52-year-old man was critically injured after an apparent road rage incident that shut down the area of a U.S. 19 overpass for nearly six hours on Friday, police said.

    Pinellas Park police say a man has critical injuries after a truck involved in a road rage incident slammed into him after he cut off another vehicle. (Pinellas Park Police Department)
  5. Britain lowers terror threat level to 'severe' as more arrested


    MANCHESTER, England — Britain reduced its terrorism threat level a notch, from "critical" to "severe," as authorities said major progress has been made in unravelling the plot behind the Manchester bombing. More arrests are expected.

    An army bomb disposal team works with members of the police in the Moss Side area of Manchester, England, on Saturday. British police say they are evacuating residents around a house being searched in connection with the Manchester concert bombing. Police are searching a number of properties and have 11 suspects in custody in connection with Monday's explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, which killed more than 20 people and injured dozens. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)