Robyn Elise Campbell was born in Oxford, Mississippi, to Michael and Natasha Campbell on March 3, 1980.
She and her older sister, Cindy, were brought up in a devoted Christian family whose social world revolved mainly around church activities. Unlike her sister, teenage Robyn developed interests outside of the church environment.
Robyn's cheery disposition and warm smile made her popular with her classmates. Through school as well as family and church activities, Robyn made friends of all racial, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds. She excelled in school, was academically ambitious, and liked getting excellent grades.
While Cindy had pursued music, Robyn enjoyed dancing. She started taking jazz and tap classes at the city's Activity Center when in elementary school and stayed with it as long as the classes were offered practically free.
The Campbells never had enough money for private dance lessons, but Robyn danced to any music she heard and enjoyed the freedom of choreographing her own routines.
As a sophomore in high school, she joined the cheerleading squad, which provided her the opportunity to dance and to lead cheers and school spirit songs.
Robyn dated a lot at Yoknaptawpha High and had a couple of serious relationships, but when she graduated from high school, she turned her attention to furthering her education.
She attended Northwest Community College in Oxford to pursue a general nursing degree. While there, she met Bill Dykman, and they began dating.
Near her graduation date, Robyn announced to her parents she and Bill were planning to be married. The Campbells were momentarily stunned by the news. They were fond of Bill but concerned with the challenges facing a young interracial couple in the South.
However, after talking with Bill and Robyn and seeing the thought and maturity that went into their decision to marry, the Campbells were completely supportive of their plans.
Cindy was thrilled to be her sister's matron of honor in the 2001 marriage ceremony that was held at their church with family and friends present.
Robyn and Cindy remain close and talk on the phone almost every day. They shared their joys and sorrows, including their sadness that neither had been able to bear children. Robyn and Bill have recently looked into the possibility of adopting, but Cindy felt Andy would never agree to raise another person's child.
Over the years, Robyn grew increasingly worried about Andy's escalating abuse of Cindy. Since Robyn's repeated pleas for her to leave Andy had fallen on deaf ears, she urged Cindy to go to the Domestic Violence Project for counseling — without success.
Robyn told some of her close friends that she feared Andy might seriously hurt or even kill Cindy during one of his drunken rages. She felt helpless and was frustrated that Cindy continued to take the blame for Andy's behavior.
But Robyn and Bill remained available to Cindy whenever she needed their help and support.