Mary Lou Campbell devoted her life to environmental causes

Long-time Frontera Audubon member and local environmentalist died peacefully on June 18, 2016.

Mary Lou Campbell was a local environmentalist and treasured member of Frontera Audubon who will be missed tremendously by so many. Please see the following words of Jim Chapman, Frontera Audubon’s President Emeritus. Obituary follows.

“Mary Lou was a friend to me and a great friend, a champion, for the environment. Especially back in the 80’s and 90’s when there weren’t a lot of “us.” I’ll miss her smile, the twinkle in her eyes, and her wise counsel. She was one of a kind.”


Mary Lou Campbell passed away on June 18, 2016. She was born on an Oklahoma ranch and her grandfather was a Shawnee, adopted into the Cherokee Tribe in Eastern Oklahoma. Her grandfather taught her  about the stars and what animals ate, and her love of the outdoors continued throughout her life. Mrs. Campbell was an environmentalist,  conservationist, volunteer leader, ombudsman, and advocate for the arts. Mary Lou graduated from Highland Park High School in Dallas in 1943 and attended Fairfax Hall  in Virginia and Southern Methodist University where she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha.

Mary Lou was raising her family in Dallas when her husband, Dr. Robert Glenn Campbell died in 1965.  In 1971 she moved to South Padre Island.  She jumped right into community involvement by co-chairing the local Bicentennial Commission which led to the establishment of the Rio Grande Valley Council of Art. Her volunteer energy led Campbell to what she loved most, the Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico. As director of the Texas International Fishing Tournament (TIFT) she started the tag and release program. She led local supporters of the Coastal Barriers Resources Act in the late 1970s and 1980s and was the first woman to be appointed to be on the Billfish Panel for the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and served as vice chairman.

All of this led her into politics and she was the first chairman of the new Precinct 52 and a State Democratic Committee Woman.  She also founded La Posada Art Gallery in Port Isabel  in 1978.  Mary Lou also served as president  of the Cameron County Child Welfare Board and in 1977 they established a shelter for teens.   When Campbell moved to Los Ebanos Farms in 1998, she continued her environmental activism with the Lower Rio Grande Valley Group of the Sierra Club receiving the Lone Star Chapter Hermann Rudenberg Award in 2001. Her interest in water issues extended to her work with the Cameron County Fresh Water District and Rio Grande Regional Water Planning Group. She also served on the founding board of Texas Audubon and was a member of the International Committee for the Sierra Club and of the Public Advisory Committee for the US/Mexico Border Plan of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Mrs. Campbell is survived by her children and grandchildren:  Robert Franklin Campbell, Anne Campbell Scott, Marcy Campbell Krinsk, April Campbell and Taylor Scott.  She will be buried in Dallas, Texas next to her husband at Restland Cemetery.  Memorial donations may be made to the Mary Lou Campbell Memorial Fund at Frontera Audubon, 1101 S. Texas Blvd., Weslaco, Texas 78596 Attn:  Sarah Williams (956-968-3275).