Inducted: October 24, 2001
The reputation achieved after several decades of innovative agriculture has resulted in his appointment to prestigious and influential provincial and national committees; and to leadership in farm organizations.
A friend described him as “a big man, a gentleman, a very honest man”. He has “strong opinions”, but they are never uninformed. He is “the soul of kindness”.
Mr. Cameron was farm-reared, the son of Grant Cameron and the former Margaret Cudmore, of R. R. 4, Thamesville. His elementary education at Selton School was followed by Ridgetown District High School, and graduation from Guelph Agricultural College in 1957.
His working career started at Campbell Soup Company, in Toronto, a job that involved among other responsibilities, work on a research farm, as a field man, and in the Southern U.S. in Georgia, where Campbell’s tomato plants originated. He left that company in 1969 to start full-time farming in the Kent Bridge area, a moved that provided him with the chance to put to use some of the knowledge and ideas acquired at Guelph, and in his early working years.
A small herd of Aberdeen Angus was an early interest; and he developed a diversified farming operation, with, at one time, 800-900 acres in cash crops including vegetables, grains, soybeans and pasture.
Mr. Cameron soon played an influential role in many farm organizations and agencies. He is a member of the Ingreen Valley Foods, Co-operative Ltd., Chairman of the Crop Protection Advisory Committee of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Canadian Horticultural Council. He is also a member of the Canadian Pest Management Advisory Council, and the Canadian Horticultural Council, and is an Honourary Life Member of that group.
Mr. Cameron has served as President of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, and Vice-Chairman of the Ontario Vegetable Growers’ Marketing Board. He was a member of the Ontario Task Force on Health and Safety in Agriculture from 1983 to 1985; and on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Ontario Agricultural College from 1983 to 1993. Closer to home, he was a member of the Kent County Roman Catholic Separate School Board. The Camerons are members of Blessed Sacrament Church, Chatham.
Mr. Cameron is a Director of the Chatham-Kent Small Business Support Corporation; and of the Board of Governors of St. Clair College. The Chatham and District Chamber of Commerce recognized him as 1997 Agriculturist of the Year. Leisure activities include curling and golf.
Mr. Cameron married Margaret O’Brien, of Guelph, in 1958. Her family had roots in Kent County, her mother Margaret Punchard, of one prominent Kent family; her father, Jerry O’Brien, of another.
The Camerons have four children: a daughter, Sue McPhedran, Toronto; and sons Peter and Pat, of the Thamesville area; and John, of Glencoe. There are nine grandchildren: Ryne, Zachary and Anneke; Casey, Samantha and Andrea; and Rachael Cameron; and Jacqueline and Cameron McPhedran. Family members say, Mr. Cameron has been “an incredible grandfather and father, a great husband and a great son and son-in-law”.
There is little doubt that Mr. Cameron, a modest man, would be embarrassed by the things people say about him. One said, “He is remarkable in so many ways, and a great source of sound advice. People respect his judgment.” Friends and associates appreciate his “dry and droll sense of humour”. The ultimate tribute from one of them: “He is the finest man I know.”
Mr. Cameron has won the affection and respect of his friends, locally, provincially and nationally. They marvel at his accomplishments, and his ability to see a project or a program through to a successful conclusion. He has always been deeply involved in the community. As one associate said, “Ron will accomplish things while others are still discussing what to do! He gets things done. I am always glad to serve on a committee when I see Ron’s name there. He is conscientious in everything he does, but always ready to listen to another opinion.”