(The following obituary appeared recently in The Mission Record for friend, neighbour and Steelhead pioneer Doreen Cameron.)
A celebration of Doreen Cameron’s life will take place Saturday, March 7, 2015 from 2 to 5 pm at Silverdale Hall, 8760 McLean Street, Mission.
On November 14th 2014 at Mission Memorial Hospital, one of the most inspirational, hard-working, funny, and stubborn women you could ever meet — the inimitable Doreen Cameron of Mission; Steelhead’s ‘Grandma Doreen’ to so many — finally stopped chopping wood, begrudgingly gave in to her worn out heart, and softly left her earthly life quietly and peacefully, with her daughter Marna and her dearest friend and neighbour Bonnie at her side. Though she was still full of merriment, mischief and plans aplenty, she’d reluctantly admitted she was deeply tired and truly missed her beloved husband Pike after their 67 remarkable years together and the five long years apart since his passing in November of 2009. No doubt he was waiting for her in one of their adored ‘Volksie’ VW vans, ready to putter off on their next big adventure, side-by-side once again.
Coming from a pioneer family and living through the Depression and WWII, Doreen was a tireless worker — from her early days packing shakes and helping run the family logging camp, through raising several generations of both her own and cherished extra children and grandchildren, to her ‘retirement’ years filled with precious great- and great- great- grandchildren — and the always shiny waxed floors, lovingly tended rockeries, and endless chopped wood. To the end, in spite of the discomforts and limitations of the still amazing physique she laughingly called “some old lady’s body I find myself in”, she was astoundingly strong and independent, obstinately continuing to drive, and chop & carry wood, in spite of family and community trying to assist her. Doreen loved baking and was renowned for her pies, always making several different kinds at a time so each person could have their favourite.
She and Pike were big gardeners and the old house teetered and groaned under the weight of hundreds of jars of canning, four huge overstuffed freezers, and enough stockpiled dry goods for a decade. For a time after Pike’s passing, Doreen hosted Friday night tipple’n’giggle get-togethers for an eclectic gang of neighbourhood gals, where she sipped her fave super-sweet sparkly drinks & let loose, often donning a festive flowery dress, a sparkling brooch, or her infamous glittery bejewelled gold apron. Her personality was as bright and twinkling as her wardrobe, and her eyes always gleamed with happiness and humour. What a character she was!
Doreen was born on March 6th, 1925 in the County of Coderre, Saskatchewan, the fourth child of Robert Henderson and May Cooper. The Hendersons moved to Mission, BC when Doreen was two. In 1943 Doreen married Alec “Pike” Cameron, son of Robert and Rita Cameron of Steelhead. Doreen and Pike had five children, but tragically three died young; infant son Kurt in 1960, daughter Suzan (Roberts) in 1984, and son Mark in 1997. Doreen was predeceased by her parents Bob & May Henderson, her in-laws Robert & Rita Cameron, son-in-law Sid Roberts, her brother Bill (“Rocky”) & his wife Mary, brothers Gordon (“Moose”), Jim, and Rayzy, her sister Margaret and brother-in-law Ken Shier, & brother-in- law Art Fraser.
Doreen is survived by her sisters Joyce Elliott and Wanda Fraser, brother David (Elizabeth) Henderson, & sister-in-law Armande Henderson. Also survived by son Sam (Wendy Turpin), daughter Marna LeVae, daughter-in-law Terri, and God-daughter Debbie Murdoch. Grandchildren; Scott (Lynn) Cameron, Sherry (Ernie) Foisy, Neil Roberts, Clint Roberts, Paul Roberts, Ilana (Cary) Taylor, Curtis Cameron, Travis (Karla) Cameron, Matthew Cameron, Brodie May (Rebecca Brooks), Sienna LeVae (Shawn Pedersen). Great-Grandchildren; Kayla Cameron (Brian Rogers), Ilaya Cameron, Andrew Foisy, Megan Foisy, Devin Roberts, Ella Cameron, Lucy Cameron, Blaze Cameron, Helena May, Sofia May, Sicilia May, and Hayden May. Great-Great-Grandchildren; Tabitha and Victoria Rogers. Doreen was also a doting mother and grandmother figure to several generations of children in and around Steelhead, and she loved them all equally. Her ‘extra kids’ are many, but extra special to her were Pat “Doc” Murdoch, Melvyn Burden, Bob Isbell, Marie Donatelli, Rene Clark, and Gary Haseler.
Both Pike and Doreen had wonderful senses of humour and used laughter and deep love to carry our family through significant tragedy and to celebrate our considerable blessings. Together as one entity, they modeled patience & resilience, showed humility and graciousness, taught responsibility and loyalty. They encouraged humour and optimism, and with-out fail shared their deep genuine love and pure joy. They were profoundly good people; we can honour their legacy by sharing small and simple kindnesses, laughing out loud, tending gardens, and messily sharing pie and whip cream with children.
Our everlasting gratitude to the Steelhead community for keeping an eye on the feisty ol’ lady and helping her when she allowed. Many thanks also to Dr. Pomeroy for years of compassionate care & to the caring staff at Mission’s Royal Bank where Doreen banked for 50+ years, and also to the caring employees at Save-On-Foods, where she got herself five gallons of chocolate milk every 4 days!
Doreen wanted to have a 90th Birthday party in March, and hoped the new Steelhead Hall would be completed so she could break it in. She didn’t quite make it, and the hall isn’t quite ready, but we’re going to get together nearby in Silverdale and celebrate the extraordinary woman she was. We’d love it if you would please join us!
SATURDAY, MARCH 7th 2~5pm
AT: SILVERDALE HALL
8760 MCLEAN STREET, MISSION, BC