Delroy McCauley Campbell, a pillar in Montauk’s Jamaican community who was known to many as the face of the Sunday brunch buffet at Manucci’s restaurant, died on April 10 at Brookdale University Hospital in Brooklyn. The 55-year-old had been short of breath for a number of weeks and was awaiting an appointment to have his lungs evaluated when he collapsed from a heart attack at home on Rutland Road in Brooklyn on the morning of April 6. According to Lola Marina Campbell, his companion for the past 15 years, he was without a heartbeat for quite some time before he was stabilized. His organs failed in the following days at the hospital, and after he died it was revealed that he had had pneumonia.
Mr. Campbell, who was affectionately known by friends and patrons as “Camby baby” or simply Campbell, manned the omelette station on Sundays and worked over the course of 13 years as a chef at Manucci’s at the restaurant’s three consecutive locations, most recently at the Tipperary Inn on West Lake Drive. He commuted from Brooklyn, remaining in Montauk for days at a time and staying overnight at the restaurant. There, he acted as a porter of sorts, receiving deliveries and greeting visitors while the business was closed.
In his down time, he watched basketball and professional wrestling on TV, spoke on the phone with his youngest son, Marvin Campbell, who is 13, and schooled his co-workers on the practices and attitudes of Bob Marley, his favorite musician. Prior to Manucci’s, he worked at several other restaurants in the area, including the Shark Shack and Cyril’s Fish House, according to Ms. Campbell.
Mr. Campbell was one of the first wave of Jamaican immigrants who came to Montauk on a popular work visa program. He was a well-respected and well-liked member of the community there who was often visited at the restaurant by friends from Jamaica who called upon him for support and advice.
He met Ms. Campbell, who shares his surname by coincidence, while working at Suzy Wong’s restaurant in Brooklyn. Ms. Campbell, who is known as Sandra or Sandy, was a regular customer who so enjoyed the soup that she one day asked to meet the chef. The two discovered that they had both attended Saunders Catering School in Jamaica (Ms. Campbell is a pastry chef by trade) and that they had worked at adjacent hotels before immigrating to the United States.
Getting married and opening a restaurant of their own were among the things the couple hadn’t gotten around to doing when he died, Ms. Campbell said. Among his favorite things were cooking, eating curried goat or ackee and saltfish (Jamaica’s national dish), watching Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson perform at wrestling matches at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and spending time with his family.
He was born on May 7, 1957, in St. Elizabeth Parish, Mountainside, Jamaica, to Lena Allen and Samuel Campbell, and was one of at least a dozen brothers and sisters.
In addition to Marvin, Mr. Campbell is survived by a number of other children, Tracy, Alita, and Demanti Campbell, who live in Jamaica, Demar Campbell of Virginia, and Terry Ann and Dane Campbell of Brooklyn, and by Kemar Thompson of Brooklyn and Stacy Ann Burnett of New Jersey, who are stepchildren. He leaves three grandchildren and three stepgrandchildren. His first wife also survives. The two separated in 1998 and were divorced in 2006.
A service was held on Monday at Rock of Holiness Deliverance Ministry in Brooklyn, officiated by Pastor Lloyd MacLaughlin. Mr. Campbell was buried on Tuesday at Rosedale Cemetery in Linden, N.J.
A reception and fund-raiser will be held at Manucci’s restaurant at 432 West Lake Drive in Montauk on May 31 at 8 p.m. Donations are being collected to help support Ms. Campbell and Marvin, who are experiencing significant financial hardship since Mr. Campbell’s death. They can be sent to Lola Campbell, in care of Manucci’s restaurant, P.O. Box 730, Montauk 11954.