Sally Lila Mae (Johnson) Campbell

January 1, 1924 ~ June 5, 2021 (age 97)


Sally (Lila Mae) Johnson Campbell, 97, died June 5, 2021, in Helena, Montana.


Former editor of the award-winning newspaper Anaconda Leader, and the Magicland Times, Campbell was an accomplished journalist, reporter, columnist, editor. She described those years as being “vivid with diversity and adventure, richly inhabited with unusual and wonderfully interesting people.”


Sally provided her children with a home full of art, music, literature, sports, travel, and more. She taught them to have opinions, argue them even if wrong, and to bend if necessary; to be observers of the world, to see its beauty and its ugliness. And they saw a woman who broke many barriers in the job world and made them feel that any job was obtainable. She also taught them that through the good and tough times you “do your job.” We loved her with all our hearts.  

She was born Jan 1, 1924, in Rexburg, Idaho to Lorenzo and Norene (Weir) Johnson. She is survived by a son Bartley James Campbell of Helena, a daughter Julie Lyn McMurray of Felton, PA, three grandchildren Bartley Robert Campbell of Helena, Hugh John and Jessica Lyn McMurray of Felton, PA and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.


Sally attended a one-room school at Granite Creek between Idaho Falls, ID and Jackson Hole, WY. Most of her childhood was lived on the Fort Hall Reservation in Southern Idaho.


In Anaconda she worked at Intermountain Bus Lines until her marriage to Hugh B. Campbell August 17, 1946. She and Hugh lived in Helena from 1946 to 1950, residing at the Carroll College G.I. housing. Sally worked at Fort Harrison and at Western Life Insurance.


In 1950 Sally and Hugh returned with their son, Bart, to Anaconda where Hugh later became principal of the Anaconda Junior High School and where Sally later managed Bollinger Insurance and Real Estate. She also worked at Gene Matelich’s Auto Mart Insurance offices; later owned her own real estate brokerage with offices in conjunction to Ben Goodman Insurance and Walter Bolkovatz law firm.


Campbell worked at one time for Intercounty Development Corporation and was the first woman to co-manager the Montana Hotel with Pete Jovanovich.


Sally became editor of the Magicland Times, and then reporter to assistant editor to editor of the Anaconda Leader, an endeavor she held dear all her life. Also, she was Administrative Assistant and the News Planner for KXLY Television in Spokane.


While at the Leader, she won the top award in America for a feature about Bridget Sullivan whose testimony freed Lizzie Bordon. The same year, Sally received first in the country by the National Press Assn for “Best Series,” reports concerning three courageous Montana women.

She was also the recipient of numerous Montana Press awards including first place for her weekly column “Sallying Forth,” as well as many historical pieces. In 2007 Campbell was awarded the Montana Newspaper Assn’s prestigious “Master Editor/Publisher” award.


She freelanced to numerous publications including the Spokesman Review, Great Falls Tribune, and Helena Independent Record. She taught workshops and courses, including Creative Writing and Journal Keeping. Sally was a guest speaker many times, and during her last years in Helena she presented “Contributions of Small-Town Newspapers to the Salvaging of Montana History.”

She was one of only 30 Montanans chosen to participate in the Kellogg III Extension/Travel Program (sponsored by Kellogg Foundation and MSU), traveling to China in 1975.


Her husband, Hugh, died in 1992, and she was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, Bruce and Andrew Johnson, and one sister Iris Leone Rogers.


A Graveside Service for Sally (Lila Mae) Johnson Campbell will be held at Mt. Olivet Cemetery on Friday, July 16, 2021, at 2:00 p.m.


The family wishes to thank Touchmark in Helena and St. Peter’s Hospice. In lieu of flowers, subscribe to your local newspaper.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Sally

We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home


Graveside Service
July 16, 2021

2:00 PM
Mount Olivet Cemetery, Anaconda

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