Mark Ross Cameron
October 10, 1933 - February 4, 2021
Mark Ross Cameron, affectionally known as “Sonny” by his family, age 87, of Newark, DE, passed away on Thursday, February 4, 2021.
Born in Davenport, Iowa on October 10, 1933, he was a son of the late Esther Meints Cameron and the late William Cameron. His educational career started in a one room school house followed by the largest high-school in Iowa. Mark continued his education at the University of Mexico, majoring in geology and minoring in geography. He eventually earned his Master’s degree in education at the University of Delaware.
After college, Mark went into the United States Air Force where he served in Dover with a year of active duty in Iceland. He finished his twenty-year commitment in a reserve unit.
Mark was a very energetic, enthusiastic person. He had many jobs, including, working in a steel mill in Iowa, busing tables in Albuquerque, clerking in a liquor store in Delaware, doing construction work in Windy Hills, having a landscaping business, working for Chrysler, and collecting for Robert Tolliver’s sanitation business, but his main occupation after settling in Newark was teaching.
At Shue School, Mark taught science. He didn’t assign a typical essay on how the students’ Summers had been on the first day of school, but instead had them do experiments with snails. Mark had a lively classroom with a resident caiman (a relative of the alligator), Noah the boa, and Smokey, a black rabbit who checked the students’ work by hopping from desk to desk.
After de-segregation, he was assigned to Bancroft School in Wilmington where, to the delight of the children, he had a “Farm Day” and brought in a calf, a piglet, and a chicken. Inner city children rarely get to see or interact with farm animals.
While he was teaching, Mark was also farming. He grew alfalfa on 85 acres of rented land. Mark had a little bit of livestock and a cow, Cream, who didn’t like being fenced in, which led to some unusual phone calls and radio announcements. “There’s a cow loose on Polly Drummond Hill Road!” Mark would frequently have to go on rescue missions.
After his retirement, Mark took up volunteering full time. Almost every day he would volunteer at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Release Facility, where he did everything from feeding birds to making a pond, landscaping, and supervising projects for other volunteers. Every Monday, except when he was traveling, Mark would deliver Meals on Wheels to the Newark Senior Center to shut-ins and people needing assistance and service. In addition to these activities, Mark directed the trout stocking program on White Clay Creek for decades. He stored and delivered equipment, recruited volunteers, and even helped haul the fish-laden boats upstream when he was physically able.
Retirement also involved some wonderful memories with service projects with Sierra Club, traveling and playing golf on military bases, and taking his grandchildren in pairs on Intergenerational Elder-hostel trips to Alaska.
One of Mark’s bucket list items was to build a boat. He built half of the boat in his basement, and then took it up to his barn to finish it: a 16-foot crab boat named “Das Boot”. “Das Boot: led to many happy water adventures and great crab eating. Another item on Marks bucket list was to visit every state in the United States, which he accomplished- including Puerto Rico!
A most memorable moment for Mark was when his former student, Kathy Cleveland, the valedictorian at Christiana High School, brought him up on stage and named him her best and most influential teacher. He wrote her a letter of recommendation to the United States Air Force Academy, and in 1994, he went with her family to her graduation and was able to pin on her wings during the ceremony. His Dress blues still fit after 40 years!
In addition to his parents, Mark was preceded in death by his siblings, Robert Cameron (Beverly) and Kay Stiles. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Nancy J. Wilson-Cameron; children, Leslie Caruso, Cathy Lopez, Julie Morgan (Dave), Kelley Husted (John), and Mark Cameron, II; 11 grandchildren, Will Thieman, Ali Thieman, Molly Caruso, Jocelyn Belusko, Joseph Belusko, Natalie Keever (Chip), Katherine Husted, Rachel Husted, Lyndsey Filbey (Travis), Luke Morgan, and Dylan Morgan; and great-grandson, Oliver Filbey.
A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am until 11 am on Friday, October 8, 2021 at Hope Lutheran Church, 230 Christiana Rd, New Castle, DE, where a funeral service will begin at 11 am Face coverings will be required for all those in attendance not immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine per the Governor of Delaware. Interment will follow in Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 2465 Chesapeake City Rd, Bear.
Our family would like to thank Hope Goldsborough for her exceptional caregiving assistance. She listened, encouraged independence, and was ready to help whenever it was needed. We all loved her.
Mark led a very full life and I am just glad I have been able to share it with him for the last forty-four years.