Our trio of newspapers carried an obituary in the September 13 edition for Bill Camp; his given first name was Williams – with an ‘s’ – but we all knew him as Bill.
I worked with him for many years when he was General Manager at the papers, back in the day when it was a family-owned business with longtime Publisher Stan Cook at the helm.
Stan called me to make sure I had heard about Bill’s passing and indeed, I had, and it was with a mixture of sadness and fond memories that I proofread the obituary.
One of the things I remember most about Bill was how you had to make sure you had an hour to spare any time you popped your head in his office to tell him something. Because not only did he usually have a response to what you were saying, he always had three or four long, involved stories associated with the topic that he needed to share.
Of course, that could be a little agonizing on deadline days but as my perspective has mellowed – or perhaps expanded – through the years, I have come to realize that there was a lot to learn from those stories. He was a man with a lot of interests, a lot of knowledge and a firm believer in the value of local, small-town papers.
Putting the emphasis on local, Bill was also a longtime volunteer – especially enjoying his tenure at the Oakdale Police Department – and he was a familiar face around town.
My condolences go out to his family on their loss.
Thinking about Bill took me back to my early days with the paper and the people who made up the ‘crew’ at that point; many more staff members than we have now because we were self-contained and had not only the news team, the front office staff and the sales force, but also the creative services/design team and the pressroom, which was out on Hi-Tech Parkway.
Having the chance to touch base with Stan again was likewise good; we had seen each other during the summer at the dedication of the Tim Haidlen Research Room at the Oakdale Museum and History Center and then spoke briefly this past week about Bill.
When I first interviewed for the job here in California, Stan was one of the people I met, at a lunch meeting at the old Nutcracker Restaurant. It operated where Firenze is in Oakdale now, back then it was The Nutcracker and was one of the go-to places in town.
Inadvertently, I think I scored some points with Stan because we talked some hunting and fishing at that lunch. Growing up my brother and I would often go fishing with our dad and my brother and I would sometimes go hunting for small game. To this day, my brother remains an avid hunter and fisherman and serves as a ‘bass pro’ for several Bass Pro Shops stores in upstate New York.
That fact that I could bait a hook probably had nothing to do with me landing the job here, but it was some common ground for Stan and I to discuss.
I consider myself lucky to have had both Bill and Stan there to guide me during my career here in California. And I am grateful for the many teachers I have had along the way. Not just in school – though there are those who made a huge impact on me – but throughout my life. Teachers come in many forms. From some, I learned what to do; from others, what not to do. Personally, I feel everyone that crosses my path likely has something to teach me, as long as I stay receptive to the lesson.
And perhaps that’s what we need a little more of these days. Taking a little more time to listen to others and learn from their experiences. It will be time well spent.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.