Gerry Boyd Cameron, our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, passed away on June 7, 2020 of natural causes. Gerry was born in Grandview, WA on June 6, 1938 to Boyd and Irene Cameron. Coming from extremely humble beginnings, he and his brother lived with extended family and in various boarding homes in OR and WA from the age of six. It wasn’t until age 13 that he returned to live with his mother. In total, he attended 14 different schools to complete his K-12 education.
Growing up, Gerry learned perseverance, honesty and hard work. He never imagined going to college, but as a senior at Washington High School he was accepted into US Bank’s work-college scholarship program. The program allowed him to alternate between working for US Bank and attending college. Gerry began his career with the bank as a bookkeeper in 1956, and in 1957 he enrolled at the University of Oregon. The work-college program opened the door to both a college degree and a banking career.
His future wife, Marilyn, caught his eye while he was employed at US Bank’s Sandy-Boulevard branch, and they were married in 1961. He transferred to Portland State University and received his BS in Business Admin in 1962. Gerry held a variety of bank positions and taught night school to supplement his salary as he and Marilyn added two children to their family. Aside from a short detour in the early 1970s to work in real estate for SJ Pounder, Gerry spent his entire career with the bank. He worked his way up the corporate ladder, with positions in both Portland and Seattle, culminating with his role as Chairman of the Board and CEO from 1994-1998.
Gerry was involved in numerous community and civic organizations over the years. He served on the board of directors for Regents Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Tektronix, United Way, the Oregon Symphony, the Federal Reserve Board (Seattle, Portland and San Francisco branches), the University of Oregon Foundation, the Portland State University Foundation, and numerous other councils and boards, primarily focused on banking and education.
Following his retirement, he and Marilyn traveled extensively, visiting multiple countries on six continents. They spent many winters in La Quinta and Palm Desert, CA and many more on Maui. But Gerry’s happy place was always Central Oregon – “God’s Country,” he called it. Camping when their children were young led to a cabin in Camp Sherman in 1973, where the family spent countless weekends and vacations, and Gerry spent hours fly fishing the Metolius. He loved to sit on the deck in the evening with a Jack Daniels on the rocks and just take in the scenery. They purchased a home at Black Butte Ranch in 1989, which was, and still is, a special gathering place for his family. He took great pleasure in watching his grandsons learn to love the area as much as he did.
Philanthropy was always important to him. In particular, his passion for education was evidenced by his and Marilyn’s involvement with both UO and PSU to establish professorships, endowments, and scholarships. It made them proud to give back after Gerry received a hand up years before. He never forgot the amazing teachers, mentors, and colleagues that helped make everything possible.
Surviving Gerry is his cherished wife of nearly 59 years, Marilyn; his daughter, Sue (Dave) McDonald; and his son, Paul (Megan) Cameron. He is also survived by his four grandsons, Kellen, Ross, Colin and Luke; and his brother, Neil. It is Gerry’s quick wit, cheesy jokes, amazing storytelling and the twinkle in his eye that will be missed most.
His was a life well lived, and he was a man well loved.
The family hopes to safely gather together with friends and family later this summer to celebrate Gerry’s remarkable life. In the meantime, they suggest you raise a glass of your choice (Gerry would suggest Jack Daniels or a good cabernet) in his honor. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages memorial contributions be made to the educational institution of your choice.
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