“When one man dies, the chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language, and every chapter must be so translated,” so averred the English poet John Donne, who also wrote “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;... One short sleep past, we wake eternally and death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.”
Coleman Ray Cameron, 91, entered into the Heavenly Kingdom Friday, April 4, 2014. He passed away in Conyers with his wife and son by his side holding his hands and stroking his head while saying into his ears that they will love him forever and always.
Mr. Cameron was born in LaGrange, Ga. as the youngest of nine siblings.
He served in the U.S. Navy from 1941-1947 and then in the U.S. Naval Reserve until 1961. He was a Chief Petty Officer on the USS Antiedam (CV-36) in the Pacific during World War II. His service also included a brief stint on the USS Hancock.
A lighthearted article titled "Privilege of Rank" that purports to describe the abilities of officers from admirals down to CPOs and which appeared in the Tale Winds section of a 1992 issue of the American Naval Association magazine Wings of Gold, proclaims: "Chief Petty Officer - lifts aircraft carriers and walks under them; catches speeding rockets in his teeth and eats them, freezes water with a single glance - because HE IS GOD!"
Mr. Cameron was an elder at Yeamans Park Presbyterian Church in Hanahan, S.C., and was a member of Conyers Presbyterian Church since 1986.
He was a member of the Association of Naval Aviation, the Fleet Reserve Association, the Tailhook Association, the USS Antietam Association, Navy Air Group 19 Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Atlanta World War II Round Table and the American Legion. He was also the owner of a "plank," awarded for his early support of establishing the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C
He was a voracious reader and his favorite genre of fiction was legal thrillers. He enjoyed reading on his Kindle Paperwhite, watching C-SPANN and Atlanta Braves baseball games and enjoyed his wife’s home-cooking and loving and constant companionship. In the winter of his life, he drew closer to family, family friends such as the Rice family of Charleston, S.C., and looked forward to hanging out with his coffee-drinking buddies at local Conyers coffee shops. Fran and Mike are blessed to have the loving support of her brother and sisters, W. Charles Smith and his family, Ann S. MacCarthy, Marian S. Norton and her family, James and Kathryn S. West and their family.
On one occasion in the 1950s, Ray Cameron came home from work and found his little boy, Mike, immersed in tears over having missed the ice cream truck. Ray quickly loaded Mike into the family car and drove up the street, waved to the ice cream man to stop, and then got out and bought Mike his green lime-flavored Popsicle. For Mike, during moments like these, his dad made all things seem right in the world.
Coleman Ray Cameron, a man of genuine honor and integrity, completed a life more than well-lived from beginning to end. He was impeccably honest, having never stolen as much as a candy bar as a child, and he was a firm believer that honesty is usually the best policy. He was - beyond dispute - a devoted son, brother, father and husband, having been faithfully married to the same woman for six-and-a-half decades.
He was preceeded in death by his father Lawrence Bruce Cameron and mother Bertha Langford Cameron, who died when he was six-months old; his stepmother “Miss Norvelle”; sisters Annie Lawrence Cameron, Bertha Mae Cameron; brothers Robert Langford Cameron, Ralph Watson Cameron; siblings who died as young children were Mary Sue Cameron, George Bruce Cameron, Sara Whitaker Cameron, Ben Lee Cameron, all of LaGrange.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 64-years, Frances Smith Cameron of Conyers; son Michael Patrick Cameron of Conyers; stepsister and her husband Phyllis and Ernie Wilson of Gray, Tenn.; nephew and his wife Bobby and Babs Cameron of Savannah, Ga.; niece Joi Cameron of Dunbar, W. Va.; great-nephews and great-nieces.
Visitation will be held Sunday, April 27, 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. at Conyers First Presbyterian. The memorial service will follow at 3 p.m. at Conyers Presbyterian. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Mr. Cameron’s name at Conyers Presbyterian.
Scot Ward Funeral Services, 699 American Legion Road, Conyers, GA 30012, 770-483-721
The Rockdale News, April 12, 2014