In his early 20s, Calvin Campbell
saw college as a nearly impossible dream for an African-American in the segregated South during the Depression, his family said.
He had returned from combat in World War II permanently scarred — losing a finger and part of his left hand — and it took a wily Army guidance counselor to convince this battle-scarred veteran to try college for a semester, said Mr. Campbell's daughter, Cathy.
"She told him, 'You can always quit.' But she must have seen something in my father that made her believe in him."
Mr. Campbell went on to graduate with a bachelor's degree from Howard University in Washington in 1948, and then earned a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1951.
In November 1978, he became the fourth African-American elected to the Illinois Appellate Court.
"He was a mentor of mine," said First District Appellate Court Judge Shelvin Louise Marie Hall. "He was a very courtly, gentlemanly and kind person, who taught me a lot."
Mr. Campbell, 90, died of respiratory failure on Thursday, Feb. 12, at The Carlton at the Lake, a nursing facility in Chicago, his family said.