Hugh Thomas Cameron (1930-2020)
Hugh Cameron came from humble beginnings. Born in the tiny town of Wilkie, Saskatchewan in 1930 at the onset of the Great Depression, he was the eldest of five children. From early on he was defined by an astonishing work ethic. His first job was delivering groceries at age five and he pretty much kept the same pace for 80 years. After his parents moved the family to Vancouver just before WW2 when Hugh was still a boy, he set up bowling pins, delivered papers, and worked at a fish market. As a young man, he studied at UBC by day while setting type at a newspaper at night.
Hugh began his illustrious career in the corrugated box industry at Crown Zellerbach. While on a sales call one day he met the love of his life, Bernardine McElroy. They fell madly in love, married shortly after, and had four daughters. When Hugh, at 32, was hired as national sales manager of Bathurst Containers, the family moved to Montreal. But after four years of relentless cross-country travel, Hugh wanted more time with his growing family. In 1966, he moved them to Toronto where he worked with a smaller corrugated firm for two years before starting his own company, one of many bold risks that paid off. Cameron Containers was his greatest business satisfaction. In record time it became a force in the box business. He later sold it for millions.
Outside of work, Hugh was a serial mentor — he loved to connect people with their next opportunity — and a successful fundraiser. His potent blend of charm and persistence were a boon to the Liberal Party of Canada, The Weitzman Institute, and Mohawk College.
As much as Hugh loved work, he loved his family more. A proud patriarch, he was grandfather to 17, great-grandfather to 14, and fond of saying, “not a bad apple in the lot.” Hugh is survived by Bernardine, his wife of 67 years, his four daughters and their partners, Janine & Brian, Suellen & John, Leslie & Tony, and Cindy & Greg, his grandchildren Todd, Jessi, Lauren, Karl, Caite Courtney, Erin, Liz, Max, Graeme, Craig, Ephraim, Zack, Caelum, Madi, Garnet, and Bobby, and his great-grandchildren Jasper, Rosin, Ethan, Callie, Stella, Aila, Evelyn, Fiona, Arianna, Teddy, Ronan, Kayden, Lewis, and Alison.
Generous without hesitation, relentlessly optimistic, and perpetually equipped with a story, Hugh lived large and loved even larger. He will be missed.
A celebration of life will be organized at a later date when restrictions for gathering are lifted.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Hugh’s favourite charity, The Salvation Army. Donation cards are available at Gilbert MacIntyre and Son Funeral Home, (519-822-4731), or online at www.gilbertmacintyreandson.com.