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HENRY CAMERON, SELF-MADE MAN WHO LEFT SCHOOL TO AID FAMILY, DIES

Henry G. Cameron, 96, of Snyder, a self-made man who quit school as a young boy to care for his mother and three siblings, died Friday (Jan. 29, 1999) in Garden Gate Nursing Home, Cheektowaga, after a brief illness.

Born in 1902 in Burton-on-Trent, England, Cameron came to the Buffalo area around 1912 after moving from Canada, where his family had lived briefly.

Known for his dedication to his family, Cameron quit school in eighth grade to take a job with the old Buffalo Courier-Express as a copy boy to help his young, widowed mother raise his three younger siblings after his father was killed by a train.

He later operated a jitney service during Buffalo's streetcar strike in the 1920s and continued helping his family through the Depression by running his own coal and ice distribution business at 17th and Vermont streets. His daughter Cyndy Scott of Clarence recalled his lugging hundreds of pounds of ice up several flights of stairs.

"He had a great dedication to his mom and making sure his siblings were well taken care of," Mrs. Scott said.

Cameron married Harriet Frame in 1945. She died in 1968.

He worked as a machinist for Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Corp. in Cheektowaga during World War II before moving across the street to Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, where he worked until retiring in 1968.

But retirement didn't last. He then worked at several other positions, including as a machinist for Brunt Manufacturing. His last job was driving a cab for Radio Cab until he was 81.

"He never really retired," Mrs. Scott said. "He was just an incredible, strong man."

Cameron always had time for hobbies -- making enormous working toys for his family and repairing anything that needed fixing. He would make aluminum wagons and rickshaws in his basement and even made his son a solid-fuel rocket.

He also loved crossword puzzles, telling jokes and helping his family. "You'd be in the joke, and you wouldn't know it until the end. He'd make them up," Mrs. Scott said.

Cameron lived at home most of his life, only moving into a nursing home last October.

When he was 83, he put a peaked roof on the garage of his home. And until he was 89, he rode his bicycle everywhere until he was involved in a collision with a car about seven years ago.

He was a member of Buffalo Lodge 585, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Besides Mrs. Scott, survivors include another daughter, Judith Schulz of Orchard Park; a son, Fred of Long Beach, Calif.; a sister, Jessie Rauch of Akron; a dear companion, Evelyn Frame of Cheektowaga; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Amigone Funeral Home, 569 Cleveland Drive, Cheektowaga. Burial will be in Ridge Lawn Cemetery, Cheektowaga.

[KAREN ROBINSON]

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