Bud J. Cameron, 78, truck driver, veteran

October 23, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Bud J. Cameron, a retired Baltimore truck driver who never missed work and won awards for his steady habits during a 44-year career with Browning-Ferris Industries, died of heart failure Oct. 16 at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 78.

Mr. Cameron was born and raised in rural Roxboro, N.C., the son of a farmer. After serving in the Navy during World War II as a steward's mate first class in the Pacific, he came to Baltimore and studied masonry at a vocational school.

In 1946, he began driving trucks for $38 a week for the Modern Trash Co., which was later acquired by Browning-Ferris Industries.

Mr. Cameron handled his mammoth 15-ton Mack rig with ease when he made pickups around the city. His stops frequently included Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant, where he transported loads of scrap steel and other waste material.

"Oh, yes, he was a good driver. He drove roll-on-roll-off trucks, and I used to kid him about driving too slow. He was a real careful driver and just took his time," said Worthington W. Jones, a fellow driver and longtime friend.

When drivers cut him off or leaned on their horns, Mr. Cameron took it in stride.

"No use getting mad," he told United Press International in a 1986 interview after being named Driver of the Year by the National Solid Wastes Management Association.

In recognition of his service, Mr. Cameron's name and the association's name were painted on the flanks of his truck. He also appeared in Browning-Ferris print advertisements and on television including WJZ's Coffee With.

Family members said he was recognized on the street, and people sometimes asked for his autograph.

"We were in the airport in Atlanta, and someone stopped him," said his wife of 23 years, the former Almeda Fisher.

Mr. Cameron, who lived in Joppatowne, drove in blizzards, hurricanes, heat waves and other bad weather. Days often began at 4 a.m. and went to 6 p.m.

"During the Blizzard of 1979, he made it into work, and no one else did. It was only after he got to work that he realized they were closed because of the storm," Mrs. Cameron said.

"He was a happy-go-lucky guy who was well-liked by everyone," Mr. Jones said.

By the time he retired in 1990, Mr. Cameron had driven a million miles - the equivalent of two trips to the moon and back - without a traffic ticket.

"He never took a vacation and liked pleasure driving. He'd work half-day on Saturday and then drive to North Carolina. And then he'd drive back home on Sunday," Mrs. Cameron said. "I think he really missed his work when he retired."

Mr. Cameron was a self-taught blues guitarist who favored the music of B.B. King and Chuck Berry. He also liked fishing and visiting Atlantic City casinos.

In recent years, Mr. Cameron made his home in Vienna, Dorchester County.

Services will be held at noon Monday at Chatman-Harris Funeral Home, 5420 Reisterstown Road.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Cameron is survived by a daughter, Joanne D. Harris of Baltimore; two stepsons, Jerome A. Buchanan Jr. of Towson and William Hatcher of Philadelphia; a stepdaughter, Tarnya N. Adams of Pikesville; a brother, Jack Cameron of Roxboro, N.C.; a sister, Annie Featherstone of Baltimore; and six grandchildren. His first wife, the former Elizabeth Hatcher, died in 1977.

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