Jack Campbell 1942 - 2016

With deep sadness, H. Gerstner & Sons announces the passing of Jack Campbell on Friday evening, September 2nd, 2016.

Jack was in a hotly contested game of Pickleball (a racquet sport played on a smaller tennis court), which he truly loved and played 2-3 times a week, when he had a heart attack and could not be resuscitated.

Photo of Jack playing Pickleball below was taken during his match on Sept 2nd

Jack Campbell, Grandson of Harry Gerstner, was at the helm of Gerstner & Sons, since 1976.  During his tenure, Jack oversaw the transition of Gerstner chests. Originally designed and used by Machinists & Mechanics, Jack expanded our brand to a wider audience by designing for a variety of uses. Gerstner now makes everything from Jewelry Chests to Gun Cases, Knife Chests to Briefcases and so much more. Jack had an eye for design and a passion for creating products to create “A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place”.

Just as when H. Gerstner & Sons lost our founder, Harry Gerstner, we are saddened by the loss of Jack, but we, as a company, will move forward in his memory, with equal Passion, Creativity and in the Tradition of Excellence that both Harry & Jack demonstrated and instilled in the entire Gerstner organization and its ongoing legacy.

Respectfully yours,
The Campbell Family


Campbell, John H. "Jack", age 74, of Oakwood, Ohio, passed away Friday Sept 2, 2016 at Catawba Island Club, Port Clinton, Ohio.

He is preceded in death by his parents, John A. Campbell and Charlotte (Gerstner) Campbell. Born in Dayton, Ohio he was nearly a lifelong resident of Oakwood.

He was a graduate of Oakwood High School, class of 1960. Upon graduation from Wilmington College with his BS Degree, Jack joined the Air Force as an Officer. After his honorable discharge from the military, Jack and his family moved around to several places before returning to Oakwood. Jack returned to Oakwood to follow in his grandfather's footsteps at H. Gerstner & Sons located on the shore of the Great Miami River in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Jack purchased the company in 1976 from another lifelong member of the Dayton community, his uncle, Harold Leland who married Harriet Gerstner (youngest daughter of Harry Gerstner - founder of H. Gerstner & Sons). He has served as President and CEO of the company since 1976. Jack was very active in the community throughout his life including the following - an Oakwood Soccer Coach, Junior Achievement Leader, Toastmasters, Homestead Federal Savings and Loan Board Member, Downtown Dayton Rotary Club - Former Member, Four Seasons Yacht Club Member, Dayton Art Institute Member, Ta-Wa-Si Club Member and Past President, Dinner Group on Tuesday evenings at The Oakwood Club for over 30 years, Dunbar Society Member at Dayton History, Dayton Sail & Power Squadron Executive Officer, Dayton Country Club (DCC) Member, Catawba Island Club (CIC) Member and '"B" Dock Captain.

Jack was a master woodworking craftsman and designer. He was also gifted with songwriting and musical instruments, especially the guitar. Throughout his life, Jack was an avid softball player, tennis player, pickleball player, snow and water skier, soccer player, dirt bike rider, hiking "14ers" in Colorado and golfer. But his true lifelong passions (after his wife, Nancy) were travelling, boating and completing The Great Loop plus extensive boating on both the Ohio River and Great Lakes - together, Jack & Nancy boating several thousands of miles.

Jack is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Nancy (Johannes) Campbell, who was also from the Oakwood class of 1960. Jack leaves behind his wife Nancy, children Kim (Campbell) Brown (Culver class of 1987) and her husband Maurice Brown, Scott Campbell (Oakwood class of 1989) and his wife Vicki (Lee) Campbell (Oakwood class of 1989) plus Grandchildren Ian Campbell (Oakwood class of 2016) and Brenna Campbell (Oakwood class of 2019).

Survived by his siblings; brother, James T. Campbell (wife, Thurza) of Sherborn, MA, and brother, W. Geoff Campbell (wife, Sherrie) of Colorado Springs, CO, sister, Jane Campbell of Dayton, OH. plus, brother-in-law Harry J. Johannes of Dayton, OH.

Beloved by dozens of Nieces, Nephews, Cousins and their extended families.

The Memorial Service was held at Routsong Funeral Home, 2100 East Stroop Road, on Saturday, September 10th, 2016.

In lieu of flowers, friends may make a memorial contribution to their favorite charity or for a Memorial Flag Pole for Jack at Gerstner & Sons.


Note to the Editor - Dad, We know you are reading this with your “red pen” in hand - we did the best we could with writing this and hopefully we don’t have many grammar or spelling errors. We will miss your edits and re-writes for each message and document we ran past you, but we will mostly miss you, your competitive nature, guidance, and quick wit - no one could quite tell jokes and stories like you!

Love, Kim & Scott



The following are just a few of the notes that have been received about Jack



(A note from Tony & Kat J - Fellow Members at CIC)

In the few years that Jack and Nancy were members of CIC, Jack became known by all. He was a consummate boater, competitive golfer and pickleball player. He was always thoughtful of others and generous of his time and efforts, especially on B dock.

You could always count on Jack being the first one on the Pickleball courts every Saturday and Sunday – rain or shine. While Jack played competitively, he also enjoyed mentoring new players and would be the first to partner with them.

As an expert mariner, he relished in the details of the journey as well as the intricacies of operating Campbell’s Sloop. If an alarm went off, he knew the problem – and later could be found in the engine room fixing the cause. His generous side would invite others to share the spare cabin on Club Cruises and be the first to offer guests a glass of wine.

But while he was the Captain, it was not without a lot of help from his first mate Nancy, who shared in their nautical experiences. While he was at the helm of Campbell’s Sloop, Nancy would be on the bow with her headset on providing him with that gentle guidance so characteristic of her. Later they would compare notes over a drink.

But it wasn’t all sports or boats with Jack, he had an artistic side as well, treating us with his musical compositions at our talent show or taking center stage at Karaoke.

As friends of Jack, we are shocked and deeply saddened by his untimely passing and will miss him dearly. We have lost a great friend and he will always be remembered by all of us at Catawba Island Club. Jack, we will leave a place for you at our Sunday night chicken dinners!


(A note from Hal & Donna C - Jack and Nancy had a second home in Colorado for several years)

We are saddened to hear of Jack's passing and know you will miss him. Spending time with Jack and Nancy while they lived in Stonebridge was never a dull moment. It was so easy to write this from the heart as we enjoyed every moment with Jack and Nancy.

Hal and I remember meeting Jack and Nancy for the first time in Colorado. Both wearing cowboy hats and heavy striped wool jackets. They looked like natives.

We would four wheel drive up behind our houses to Waldo Canyon and have cheese and crackers and our daily fruit allowance (wink, wink, (wine)).

It didn't take much for our Stonebridge gang to throw a party of some sort and we always hated to see Jack and Nancy return to Ohio.

We were thrilled when they stayed with us here in Greeley, SC and when Hal and I stayed with them in their lovely home in Oakwood they were perfect hosts.

We enjoyed them so much and remember such wonderful times together.


All of us at Woodcraft express our sincere condolences and deepest respect to the family and friends of Jack Campbell.

Woodcraft re-posted Jack's Obituary on their blog at http://blog.woodcraft.com/2016/09/h-gerstner-sons-announces-the-passing-of-jack-campbell/


(A note from Cabot Guns)

I am saddened to learn of the loss of Jack Campbell.

I met Jack Campbell only a few times but those occasions were each memorable.

I am blessed in that I work with some of the finest craftsmen in the world and our customers are some of most rarified folks in the world and include royalty, actors, professional athletes and rock stars. Within this context, Jack stood out to me as the type of man I admire above all.

In addition to being a great artisan, Jack was a man of family, craftsmanship and traditional American values, three cornerstones which embody the reputation and Legacy of Gerstner & Sons.

Of course, we all know the great legacy of Gerstner for crafting the finest wood tool chests in America that were famously used by the Wright brothers and a staple to any tool maker and machinist -- but the rarest thing to do in a family business is to maintain a philosophy and work ethic beyond a founder.

There is no doubt Jack not only carried on the great legacy of Gerstner & Sons founder Harry Gerstner but I have witnessed these values in practice passed down to his children Scott and Kim who I have had the pleasure to work with for the past several years.

This does not occur by accident. Jack: may you rest in peace, we have a lost a great craftsman and shepherd of an American iconic brand. But you have left behind and enduring legacy and a family I know will honor it.

Rob B

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