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Published: Wednesday, 4/19/2006

Open road lies ahead for retired Sylvania street-division leader


When the white-gloved fist of winter pummeled northwest Ohio s midsection in 1978, Richard Campbell worked round-the-clock.

The Blizzard of 78 was a high point when it came to Mr. Campbell s snow-plowing experiences as an employee in the city of Sylvania street division.

During his tenure, which stretched 37 years, he worked his way up the ranks. He started as a laborer. When he retired a couple weeks ago, he was the superintendent.

He was hired by the city in 1968. At that time, street division workers had a variety of duties: brush and leaf pickup, park maintenance, and road repair. They mowed grass, erected traffic signs, and plowed snow. Some of those duties have shifted to the city s parks and forestry division, he said.

Mr. Campbell said he stayed with the city for nearly four decades because he liked his job.

It was fun. There was variety, plus we had good people, he said. There were certain things I really enjoyed, such as plowing snow. During the blizzard we had to put more people on. I think we had about eight people working. Roughly we had three trucks plowing constantly round-the-clock.

Although he hasn t plowed snow in recent years, he hasn t sat behind the desk, either.

When we would do our yearly paving program, I was right out there working with them, he said.

After about 10 years on the job, he became a foreman; in 1987, he became superintendent. The street division s staff expanded from 4 to 12 during his tenure.

His last day on the job was March 31.

Dick served the city of Sylvania as street superintendent for many years and before that he served in the street department in other capacities. We re fortunate that he worked for the city of Sylvania, and we wish him well in retirement, Mayor Craig Stough said.

Dave Bondy, who worked nearly 30 years ago in the street division with Mr. Campbell, has been named as the new superintendent.

After a brief stint in the street division, Mr. Bondy transferred to the city s engineering division of the public service department where he served as construction supervisor. He was with the engineering division for 27 years.

This is where I started, Mr. Bondy, 53, said about his new position. He applied for a job with the city after working for construction firms. I was tired of bouncing from job to job. I was looking for steady employment and I found it. He s been with the city for 28 years.

Both men grew up in Sylvania; Mr. Campbell still lives in the city. Mr. Bondy lives just outside of Sylvania.

Mr. Bondy doesn t plan any immediate changes in the street division which, he said, was well run by Mr. Campbell. Dick devoted his life to the job. He cared about the job, Mr. Bondy said, and the workers care, too. Inheriting a dedicated staff is a bonus for me.

As for his retirement, Mr. Campbell plans to spend more time riding his Harley-Davidson. Active in a motorcycle chapter, he has helped raise funds for charities. His father, Richard A. Campbell, was a deputy fire chief and postmaster in Sylvania; the just-retired Mr. Campbell was a volunteer firefighter for Sylvania Township from age 16 to 20.

The street division staff held a luncheon in honor of Mr. Campbell.

Contact Janet Romaker at: jromaker@theblade.comor 419-724-6006.

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