Krystle Campbell of Arlington, who died from explosion injuries, ‘was always right there if you needed her’

As she did every year, Krystle Campbell of Arlington went to Copley Square for the finish of the Boston Marathon, drawn by the euphoria of crowds cheering runners through the final paces of the race.

This undated photo provided by the family shows Krystle Campbell. Campbell, 29, a restaurant manager from Medford, Mass., was among the people killed in the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Monday, April 15, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/Campbell Family)
Krystle Campbell (Campbell Family)AP

“She’s been doing it since she was a little girl,” said her grandmother, Lillian Campbell of Somerville. “She didn’t miss a Marathon, watching it at the finish line.”

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Krystle Campbell was standing along Boylston Street on Monday with another woman – her grandmother said she was Krystle’s best friend, Karen – when the explosions went off. Krystle died from her injuries and Karen was seriously injured, Lillian said.

When Krystle’s father went to Massachusetts General Hospital on Monday after the explosions, at first “they wouldn’t let him in,” Lillian said. Officials initially told him that Krystle might lose her leg because of her injuries, Lillian added, “and when they let him in, it wasn’t Krystle, it was her girlfriend. And my son was devastated.”

She said her granddaughter, who graduated from Medford High School, had worked for several years at Jasper White’s Summer Shack locations in Cambridge and Hingham before taking a job with Jimmy’s Steer House in Arlington recently.

“The event was sad enough,” Roy Belson, the Medford school superintendent, said of the explosions at the end of the Boston Marathon. “To find out one of those who died was from Medford, it makes it even more personal.”

Krystle moved to Arlington about a year ago after helping her grandmother recuperate from an operation. She was 29 and would have turned 30 on May 3, her grandmother said.

“She took care of me for almost two years after I had an operation,” said Lillian, who lives in Somerville. “She moved right into my house with me for two years.

Krystle, she added, “was special. She’s a hard worker and she was always right there if you needed her. All you had to do was call Krystle, and she was there.”

Lillian added that her granddaughter “was one of those people who always have to be doing something for somebody.”

Krystle Campbell was born in Somerville and grew up in Medford, where her parents had purchased a house, her grandmother said.

“She was so cute. She was just full of life,” Lillian said. “She loved being around people. She was a people lover, even as a little girl. She always had a lot of friends around her. She loved music, and she loved life, Krystle did. She was always bouncing and always happy.”

Krystle began working as a waitress while in high school, her grandmother said, and went to college for a couple of years of college. On her Facebook profile, Krystle listed that she attended the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Then Krystle went to work at the Summer Shack, her grandmother said. Krystle’s online linkedin profiles list her Summer Shack job titles as general manager at the Hingham location and catering manager.

“She used to put in 70, 80 hours a week,” her grandmother said, often coordinating parties and graduations.

In addition to her grandmother, Krystle leaves her parents, William Campbell Jr. and Patricia Campbell, and her brother, William Campbell III, all of Medford.

Krystle went to the Marathon finish every year because “she just felt that she had to. She enjoyed doing it because she liked people. She’d meet a lot of people over there. She was very friendly, Krystle. She’d talk to anybody.”

Krystle’s death is a profound loss for the family, she said.

“I said to my son when I saw him this morning, ‘You know, it’s not right. My granddaughter shouldn’t die before me,’ ” Lillian said. “No mother should bury their children, I don’t care who they are. No grandmother or anybody.”

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