A Tribute to Don Cameron
Don is a long time member of SEAT and a good friend and riding partner. He is now in a group home in his home town of Deming New Mexico. This was written by Don's wife Mary Lou and was posted by a mutual friend and well know long distance rider Voni Graves.
If you would like to know more contact Craig. Don is always pleased to have visitors.
Don Cameron has had many hobbies, but his passion from 1964 until January of 2022 was riding motorcycles.
Don's introduction to motorcycles was in the early 60's when he was stationed in the army in Dugway, Utah, after graduating from Texas A & M. One of the opportunities he had was being a scout leader to teen boys living on the base there. Having been an Eagle Scout, this allowed him to not only help scouts move up the rank, but also give Don a chance to participate with scouts as part of his work on the army base. When he took the opportunity to work with the scouts, he soon found out that many of the boys had small motorcycles and loved to camp. Don already loved camping, but wanting to integrate into what the boys liked, Don purchased a dirt bike. This begins his story of riding motorcycles for over sixty years.
After finishing his time at Dugway, Don took a job as a chemical engineer at PPG in Corpus Christi, Texas. He continued riding when he left Dugway and purchased a street bike in Corpus Christi. He joined his first motorcycle club there and spent most of his weekends riding to many designations in Texas and out-of-state. In 1966 he met his wife-to-be and introduced her to the motorcycle club he belonged in Corpus Christi. He tried to teach her to ride, but she never caught the hang of it, especially after riding off one time and going faster and faster. Don kept calling put on the brake, and she just kept speeding faster and faster until she finally crashed without any injuries. She became his best advocate for motorcycles, but did not try riding much on her own after that. When he left Corpus Christi to accept an engineering job at El Paso Natural Gas, he continued riding motorcycles. Areas to ride were plentiful at that time. He would often take his older son at two on rides and camping trips to give mother and second baby a rest.
His job in El Paso was one that required many hours of travel to other places in the United States and overseas. He came home one night from a trip to Europe. He explained to me that while the jobs were great, and the travels were good opportunities, he wanted to be part of his son's lives, not spending two-thirds of each year traveling. He had one year left on his GI Bill, and we agreed to move to New Mexico where we had purchased a small acreage and house so he could obtain a teaching certification and become a teacher, and his wife would go back to the classroom after five years at home with our two boys (Don Aaron and Rex). If that didn't work out, he could return to engineering.
Fortunately, it did work out. Don finished his year's course and obtained his teaching certificate. I substituted during his university work. The next year Don was hired as a math and chemistry teacher, and I accepted a job as a first-grade teacher. He kept his love of motorcycles and excelled as a teacher. While teaching, he invested in a motorcycle business in Deming, NM. A few years later he purchased the other partner's part on his retirement. Don was allowed to continue to teach chemistry and higher level math in the mornings, and then he would go to the shop in the afternoon and on Saturdays. The business grew and soon he had to make the decision to relinquish his teaching job and go full-time at the cycle center.
Don loved his twenty years at the Cycle Center. Our younger son also worked with him for some years. We both enjoyed meeting so many wonderful customers, and many of them are still good friends. One opportunity that Don had was to ride with others on trips around the country, Alaska, Canada and Germany. When we had an opportunity to sell the business, we decided to accept as he wanted to do more adventures on his motorcycle, and he did until the pandemic of 2020 closed our country.
The pandemic hit hard and was not favorable for riders as many motels were unopened, and restaurants were also closed. We missed many who would often stop by our house to visit and have one of Don's steaks. During the past year, Don's health required him moving into an assisted living home in Deming. One of the kindest gestures this year is that two motorcycle friends rode to Deming and visited him in his current home away from home.
In closing, there is always a place for our riding friends to stop for a visit or overnight. It also means a lot for us when someone stops by to see him in his current residence and have a rest as well.