By Carol Tannenhauser
Michael J. Campbell, the patriarch of the family behind Emerald Inn, a classic UWS Irish pub since 1943, died on Monday, March 7. He was 90.
WSR got the news from Charlie Campbell, one of Michael’s nine grandchildren, and the fourth generation of Campbells to take the helm of the bar.
“I have to keep the place going in his honor,” Charlie texted.
He is currently out of the country, having just married his girl, Megan, after 15 years of being together. “Because my grandpa’s health went so downhill, we got married in front of him a few hours before he passed,” Charlie wrote.
We asked him to tell us more about his grandpa. Here are the bits and pieces he sent.
He said his grandfather had met “lots of amazing customers over the years who I know would be sad over the news. He often ‘held court’ on the bench in front of the Emerald. He had a great sense of humor and, no matter what, he always put a smile on your face.”
“Mike” Campbell was born on June 11, 1931. He married Mary, who died 10 years ago. “He missed her so much,” Charlie wrote. “It is peaceful to think they are together again.”
Mike and Mary had six children, nine grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. They lived in Flushing, Queens, where they raised their family. In his last years, Mike lived with his dog, Bridget, “who he loved very much.” He also “loved the NY Mets more than anything.”
Mike was a veteran of foreign wars — the Army — stationed in Germany during the Korean War. He had a college degree from St. John’s University, and was very active in the Catholic Church. The Campbell family is from Ballinasloe, County Galway, Ireland, “where we still have a lot of family,” Charlie texted. “He will be missed.”
An employee of the bar summed it up in a phone call.
“He was the best, an absolute gem — like the Emerald.”