Campbell, Dahood, delegates to 1972 ConCon, die weeks ahead of anniversary of ratification
Montana lost two of the architects of its Constitution when Bob Campbell and Wade Dahood both died in April.
Campbell and Dahood were both among the 24 lawyers elected as delegates to Montana’s 1972 Constitutional Convention. Their deaths came only weeks before the 50th anniversary of the Constitution’s ratification by Montana voters in June of 1972. Both were members of the convention’s important Bill of Rights Committee.
Campbell, of Missoula, died on April 5 at 81. Dahood, of Anaconda, died April 18 at 94.
As a ConCon delegate. Campbell made a number of significant contributions to the Constitution, particularly its Declaration of Rights as a member of the Bill of Rights Committee and its safeguards for privacy and environmental protections.
He also coauthored the preamble to the Constitution with Mae Nan Ellingson, who was the youngest delegate at the convention and who would go on to become a lawyer herself afterwards.
In a 2015 interview for Butte historian Evan Barrett’s “The Crucible of Change” video series, Campbell said he and Ellingson wanted the preamble to reflect the beauty of Montana, the influence of Native Americans, the influence of painter Charlie Russell and author John Steinbeck’s love of Montana as described in “Travels with Charley.” He said that, inspired by those ideas, the two wrote what would become the preamble over a couple hours on Jan. 27, 1972.
“It was well received,” he said. “It still does bring tears to your eyes.”
According to Ellingson, Campbell often spoke to students of all ages about the constitution, including addressing elementary-aged children on Law Day and participating in talks with students in constitutional law classes at the law school.
“Bob did more to elevate people’s understanding of the Constitution than anybody else,” Ellingson said. “Nobody would allow me enough words to describe him and his influence.”
Campbell was born Dec. 21, 1940, in Sidney. After receiving a pharmacy degree from the University of Montana, he earned his J.D. from the UM School of Law in 1967. After law school he practiced law in Missoula before working as a hearings officer for the Montana Workers’ Compensation Court. He returned to Missoula upon retirement.
Dahood was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to immigrants from Lebanon on Dec. 31, 1927. The family moved to Anaconda when he was 6 months old.
During the convention he served as chair of the Bill of Rights Commitee.
He earned his J.D. from the University of Montana in 1951 after which he served in the Judge Advocate General Corps with an office in the Pentagon during the Korean Conflict.
After returning from service he joined the firm now known as Knight & Dahood, now carried on by his grandson, Jeffrey Wade Dahood. Other than his time in school and in the armed forces, he spent his entire life in Anaconda. He was a Senior Member of the State Bar of Montana at the time of his death.
There will be a memorial service for Campbell at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 17, at Garden City Funeral Home in Missoula. It will follow an event in the Capitol in Helena on June 15 and 16 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution.
In honor of Campbell and his efforts over the past 50 years, UM’s Blewett School of Law has established the “For This and Future Generations” Award to be given each year for the best published student paper on the Montana Constitution. The $1,000 award will go to a graduating law student who published (or has had accepted for publication) an important paper advancing the bench and bar’s understanding of Montana constitutional law.
Gifts can be made payable to The University of Montana Foundation and noted for a gift to establish the “For This and Future Generations Award.” If enough funding is received, this Award will be endowed. Checks should be mailed to The UM Foundation, P.O. Box 7159, Missoula, MT 59807, or may be given online at www.SupportUM.org and note in the comments field that the gift is in memory of Bob Campbell to be designated to the “For This and Future Generations Award.”
More details on memorials for Dahood and Campbell will be announced as they are released.