On With true cowgirl grit, Judy Campbell forged ahead
following the death of her husband, Jack Campbell, in 2003.
It was a quiet August afternoon in the little country cemetery located at the
edge of Jay, Oklahoma. Appropriately, the sun had begun to sink in the Western
sky as the large contingent of friends and relatives gathered at the hillside
gravesite to pay their last respects to a cowboy. As the coffin was gently
lowered into the ground, the man’s son stepped quietly up. Drawing out a
pocketknife, he reached for the lariat that had been placed on top of the coffin
and cut the hondo in half. And, with that symbolic gesture, the earthly remains
of A.J. “Jack” Campbell were laid to rest. As she had throughout the hurried
funeral arrangements and actual event, Jack’s widow Judy maintained an aura of
outward calm and control. Early the next morning, however, that composure all
but dissipated and the proverbial sky came crashing down.