Gaylord Campbell dies at 81; U.S. marshal served subpoenas on Nixon

Gaylord Campbell
Gaylord Campbell, seen in 1974, was appointed U.S. marshal by President Nixon.
(Los Angeles Times)

Gaylord L. Campbell, a U.S. marshal who was appointed by President Nixon and then served two subpoenas on him dealing with the Watergate scandal, has died. He was 81.

Campbell died Thursday at Tarzana Health and Rehabilitation Center, said his daughter, Gayle Campbell Hughes. He had colon cancer.

Campbell was Los Angeles County Sheriff Peter J. Pitchess’ most visible public information officer when he was appointed by Nixon in 1969. Campbell’s jurisdiction included Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties.

He briefly became part of the Watergate saga in August 1974, because the former president, then living in San Clemente, had to be served two subpoenas dealing with the case. Campbell’s daughter said her father brought with him a photo of her with Nixon and his two daughters taken at a campaign event at the Century Plaza Hotel and asked the former president to autograph it.

“My mom and he talked about it often,” Campbell Hughes said.

Campbell was born Nov. 4, 1927, in Hollywood. After serving in the Army, he began his law enforcement career in 1948 as a fingerprint expert with the Los Angeles Police Department. He worked for two years as a criminal investigator for the Army during the Korean War, then joined the South Pasadena Police Department in 1952, rising to the rank of detective. He was hired by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1958 and was a sergeant in the public affairs department.

After leaving the marshal’s office in 1974, Campbell retired, his daughter said.

Besides his daughter, Campbell is also survived by his son, Gaylord E. Campbell. His wife, Joyce Marsh Campbell, died in 2004.

Services will be held Oct. 10 at San Gabriel Cemetery.

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