Age: 56.99 (Birthday is May 23)
Occupation: Realtor with Century 21 Smoky Mountain Realty, president of Blount County Association of Realtors, fundraiser for Appalachian Bear Rescue and Townsend Volunteer Fire Department.
Martha Lou McCampbell learned early on there was no such thing as women’s work. Born and raised in Fountain City, she was the fifth of eight children to Joe and Marguerite McCampbell, and she was a twin.
“There was no one sex that did any job. If the yard needed mowing or the garbage needed taking out or the dishes done, we all pitched in,” she said.
Joe and Marguerite McCampbell had five girls and three boys. “Our parents were so loving and patient. They never raised their voices, and you never saw them argue,” she says. “Dad was Presbyterian, and mom was Catholic, so everybody was right. You learned there was more than one way to skin a cat.”
Martha Lou graduated from Central High School and went to work helping open W.T. Grant’s department store in Halls. Her grandmother then invited her to accompany her back to her “home,” and Martha Lou spent five months with her grandmother in Hawaii.
“I was 19, and I was the first of our grandmother’s descendents to have gone home with her. I discovered that I looked like my Portuguese cousins.”
When she married Richard Wade, a dental technician, and his career took them to Cleveland, Tenn. She worked in a fabric shop before she landed a position in marketing with Magic Chef. Her husband’s career brought them to Maryville in the years that followed. After she and Richard divorced, she got into real estate.
“I started working in real estate in 1990. I’ve always had a desire to own land and help others own land. I decided I wanted to be a part of making that happen. I also wanted to be a part of promoting quality, conscientious development.”
In Blount County, Martha Lou got involved with Alternatives for Blount County, which she said was a group that looked not for “no growth,” but “know growth.”
“Growth is going to happen,” she said. “The public needs to help make responsible decisions about how that growth happens so that it is strategic growth.”
As current president of the Blount County Association of Realtors, Martha Lou is well aware of the hardships the recession has caused.
“Things aren’t as bad in Blount County as they are in other places around the country,” she said. “I don’t think our bottom, as bad as it was, was as bad as it was in other areas,” Martha Lou said. “I think we’re going to have sensible, steady growth.”
Martha Lou says she has always enjoyed living in East Tennessee. She loves to garden, hike, read and visit friends.
As for family, while Martha Lou said she has a title she really enjoys: “I’m a favorite auntie,” she said. “I have 12 nieces and nephews.”
Here is Martha Lou McCampbell:
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“At the end of the old Nestle’ Quik ad was that single word ‘Chocolate.’ Enough said.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“My great-grandparents and grandparents, the DeMattos, the McCampbells, the Harrisons and the Rankins.”
What are you guilty of?
“I have had a hard time saying ‘no.’”
What is your favorite material possession?
“A simple, beveled mirror with a hand carved frame that belonged to my parents, and my McCampbell family history book. composed and written by family members.”
What are you reading currently?
“This month’s Atlantic Monthly and ‘The Gold Coast.’ I love to read.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
At a huge convention, I came up behind a man I thought was my husband and, well, it wasn’t.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“Complete the University of Tennessee Master Reading list, tour Portugal, create a perpetual art and gardening space for whatever project I take on.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Fun. I try to enjoy myself all the time, when appropriate.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“Make more time to create.”
What is your passion?
“Assisting and advancing children, the elderly and those with disabilities.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“I would go back to Hawaii when my parents were there.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“My great-grandmother’s wedding ring.
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“Always have something constructive to say, and remember that how it is spoken is as important as what is spoken.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“My twin sister, Rosemary McCampbell, is truly my better half. She is intelligent, creative, patient and the mother of two of my nieces and nephews.”
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“I worked in payroll at Magic Chef. It was too easy and very boring, but that did get me transferred to their brand new marketing department where nothing was predictable. Everything we did was a precedent.”
What irritates you?
“Arrogance and self-serving people.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“Our national park.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
What is your greatest fear?
“There isn’t much that I am afraid of. That will be my demise.”
“I still can’t quite get the hang of…
“Egos, those who get a charge out of being ‘in charge.’”
If you could do one impulsive thing, what would it be?
“A lot of what I do is impulsive. I am a Gemini. Let’s go visit my sister in Montana.”