BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Former Bloomfield Public Librarian Robertina “Ina” Campbell, 95, was laid to rest Monday, July 1, in Bloomfield Cemetery.
She died June 5.
Campbell lived in Job Haines Home for the last three years. She had been a long-time resident of Troy Towers.
A former president of the Historical Society of Bloomfield, Campbell was also a former president of the Bloomfield-Glen Ridge branch of the American Association of University Women. Before joining the Bloomfield Public Library staff, she was employed as a Bloomfield College reference librarian. A memorial service for Campbell, who was a deacon at The Church on the Green, was held at that church on Saturday, June 30.
Jean Kuras, a Glen Ridge resident and member of the Historical Society of Bloomfield, said in a telephone interview on Monday, following the internment, that she and Campbell had been friends for many years, had mutual friends, read the same books, attended the Shakespeare Theater at Drew University, and were members of the Women’s Club of Glen Ridge. Kuras and another former Bloomfield librarian, Liga Stam, were with Campbell the day she died.
Three years ago, Kuras said a Troy Towers neighbor, Beverly Monahan, concerned over Campbell’s whereabouts and having a key to her apartment, unlocked the door to discover her on the floor. According to Monahan in a recent conversation, Campbell’s hip was broken in the fall. It was then that she moved to Job Haines Home, a residency for the aged.
Kuras said when Campbell moved to Job Haines, she was asked by Campbell’s attorney, Larry Korosen, if she would collect some things from Campbell’s Troy Towers residence to furnish her room at Job Haines. She did.
“While Ina was there, she was doing very well,” Kuras said. “Then she started having problems.”
On the day Campbell died, Kuras said she and Stam were with her at Job Haines.
“We didn’t know it, but Ligna and I were with her on her final day,” Kuras said. “I held her hand.”
Kuras said said she gently squeezed her friend’s hand and felt a gentle squeeze back.
“She knew we were there,” Kuras said, “but she couldn’t speak.”
From her own experience, Kuras said she understood that the nighttime and early morning hours were the most difficult for an elderly person in failing health. She asked for permission to spend the night with Campbell. Receiving it, she left and attended to personal business. She then went home to pack a few things. A phone call from Job Haines informed her that Campbell had died at about 8 p.m.
According to her wishes, Campbell was cremated. But Kuras said she and Stam were very concerned about what to do with the ashes. They contacted Izabela Van Tassel, owner of Van Tassel Funeral Home, in Bloomfield. According to Kuras, Van Tassel did some research and learned that Campbell’s mother was interred in the Bloomfield Cemetery. Kuras gave this information to the cemetery director, Mary Jones, who confirmed it and Campbell was buried alongside her mother in an area called the Rose Garden. Kuras said the heat during the service was unbearably and prayers were quickly said.
Campbell had made a contribution to the Historical Society of Bloomfield Museum of a well-furnished dollhouse complete with electrical lighting. Kuras, who volunteers at the museum, said it is a popular exhibit. She also said a collection of photographs from Campbell’s family album will be held by the museum for three years in the event that any family member should come forward to claim them. After that, Kuras would like the museum to preserve them.