Phil C. Campbell, 45, who received national attention for teaching his sociology students at Paint Branch High School about the dying process, died Feb. 9 at his home in Washington. He had AIDS.

Mr. Campbell was a sociology teacher in Montgomery County for 17 years, starting at Francis Scott Key Junior High School. He retired on disability last June from Paint Branch in Burtonsville, where he also was the student government adviser and a club sponsor.

Starting in 1990, he began getting media attention in the Washington area and nationally for a class on death and dying that he had been teaching at Paint Branch for several years. The class, aimed at helping ease young people's fears and anxieties about death, included discussion of the preparations for death and field trips to funeral homes.

Mr. Campbell was interviewed about the course on the "Donahue," "20-20" and "Youthquake" television programs and by newspapers.

Mr. Campbell's own health problems became the focus of the Paint Branch community after he disclosed that he had AIDS. Informational assemblies were held for the students, and parents were invited to a meeting to question school administrators and health officials.

A story in The Washington Post last year described how students, faculty and parents rallied around Mr. Campbell, a popular teacher, and sought to comfort and support him. He said at the time that the supportive community response to the disclosure of his illness had been "unbelievable."

Mr. Campbell was a native of Wildwood, N.J., and a graduate of Parsons College, now part of the University of Iowa. He received a master's degree in education from the University of Maryland.

From 1970 to 1976, when he moved to Washington, Mr. Campbell taught geography at a junior high school in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

In the Washington area, he was a speaker's bureau volunteer for the National Association of People with AIDS, a volunteer for Grandma's House, and a member of Metropolitan Community Church of the Disciples in Washington and the Montgomery, Maryland and National education associations.

His marriage to Gail Adams ended in divorce.

Survivors include his companion, John Mele of Washington; two sons, Phil C. Campbell Jr. and Scott A. Campbell, both of Washington; his mother, Ruth C. Campbell of Wildwood; a sister, Delores Westley of Philadelphia; and three brothers, Meredith R. Campbell of Houston, Gary R. Campbell of Wildwood and Gregory A. Campbell of Temple Hills.