Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Larue Barnes

April 15, 2012

Larue Barnes: Taking life into account

Cleburne-native and banker Jimmy Campbell is forever grateful to the mentor who put him on the path to a life well lived


Jimmy Campbell of Cleburne is president/CEO of Community Bank, headquartered in Fort Worth with 10 branch locations. 

Back in Cleburne High School in 1967, he served as president of the Math Club.

Even then, numbers was the name of the game.

He hated school at first, until his sixth-grade teacher, Laurian Gilliland sparked his competitive spirit.

“We had a math contest between all six of the elementary schools. Mrs. Gilliland’s husband was principal of J.N. Long Elementary School, and his students often won the contest. She was determined she and Cooke Elementary were going to win that year.

“Mrs. Gilliland worked with me for two days before the contest. Don Clements of Coleman and I tied for first. She was so happy.”

It was a new feeling for him. A good one.

Campbell and his wife, Cathy, knew met each other in the first grade.

“I lived on Bales Street, and Campbell lived on Euclid,” Cathy said. “But after third grade, I moved away to California and didn’t come back until my freshman year.”

Campbell, his brother, Mike, and sister, Rhonda, lived in the country with their parents, J.B. and Darlene Campbell, moving back to town before his ninth-grade year.

“Our dad was in the National Guard, did construction work and worked at LTV before he worked for the Santa Fe,” Campbell said. “Mother was assistant superintendent of the Santa Fe Shops with a 38-year career.”

He grinned and added, “She told 1,200 men what to do everyday. I grew up in a structured environment where you were never late — and you got things done.”

When Campbell enrolled in Cleburne High School, he was in awe of math teacher E. Rex Arnold. 

“I was amazed at Mr. Arnold’s instruction — the way he gave me drive, the want-to. I placed at regional in number sense. I received a few of Mr. Arnold’s famous [reward] pennies. In fact, on my 40th birthday, he gave me a bag of 40 — still in our safe deposit box today.”

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Larue Barnes
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