BALTIMORE, MD—Marietta L. Campbell—née Phoebe, Mary Etta Lee and affectionately known as Mae—was born in Kilmarnock on January 12, 1922, to the late Dennis Whitfield Lee and Grace Olivia Jones Lee.
Marietta was the fifth of nine children. All of her siblings—Norman, Charles, Tolford (Buddy), Esther, Grace (LaVerne), Harold, Robert and Earl—preceded her in death.
At an early age, she was baptized and joined the Calvary Baptist Church in Kilmarnock. She received her early education in the public schools of Lancaster County, graduating with the class of 1939 from A.T. Wright High School in White Stone.
Marietta continued her education at Virginia Union University, Richmond; Coppin State College, Baltimore, Md.; and Cortez Peters Business School, Baltimore campus. Cortez Peters Business School taught typing, shorthand and other clerical skills. It was one of the few black-owned private schools in the nation and offered young Blacks—especially those from the rural south—an entrance into the white-collar world. There were campuses in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Ill. Cortez Peters closed in the mid-1970s.
In the 1940s, Marietta, along with her sister Esther, moved to New York to work in their brother Charles’ restaurant. Taken by her beauty, Marietta was approached by a restaurant patron who offered her a job as a chorus girl in the legendary Harlem district nightspot, the Cotton Club. Marietta graciously declined.
Returning home to Virginia, Marietta married the late Quentin D. Campbell in Kilmarnock. While in Virginia, Marietta taught school at Anna T. Jean in Wicomico and Mount Jean in Weems.
In the 1950s, Marietta returned to Baltimore where she pursued her career and thrived as a public school secretary at P.S. 107, P.S. 117 and an evening public school. After moving to Baltimore, Marietta met Walker “Unks” Shields.
They enjoyed many years together attending family events and celebrations, traveling and most notably, winning at horse races. She taught herself how to bet on races, becoming familiar with each horse, the race track, racing sheets and jockeys. Marietta and Unks remained faithful companions until Unk’s passing in March 2020, just shy of his 110th birthday.
On June 15, 2021, Marietta slipped peacefully into eternal rest at her home in Baltimore.
Surviving her loving memory are her daughter, Brenda; her son, Rodney; her granddaughter, Robyne (John); her grandson, Ternell (Siri); four great-grandsons, Jarvis, John Jr., Anthony and Jaren; one great-great-grandson, Jett; one sister-in-law, Martha; and a host of adoring nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
A service was held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 26, in Calvary Baptist Church, Kilmarnock.
Campbell Funeral Home of Kilmarnock handled the arrangements.