January 21, 1948 – March 14, 2020
We regret to announce the passing of King George Cam on March 14, 2020, at 72 years of age. King was born on Jan. 21, 1948 in Merritt, B.C.
Moving to Vernon as a teenager with his parents George and Norah, King carved out a larger than life reputation in all aspects of his life. His bravado would go on to become notorious on the hockey rink and the race track. One of his first jobs was sweeping the sawdust off the floor at Ben’s Meat Market. King met his wife Christel (Baron), and they were married in 1968. They had three children, Dean, Denise and Delphine.
With a personality to match his name, King operated Alley Auto Works in Vernon’s Harwood neighborhood for 40 years. Prior to that, he operated King Cam Towing in the old Anderson subdivision before its redevelopment. Despite a gruff exterior, Cam was a mentor to many young men and students over the years, teaching them how to work on their cars and taking them in as aspiring mechanics in his shop. Cam also operated a snow plowing business in the winter months, but it was on the ice and race track where he earned his reputation as a fearless hustler.
He played semi pro hockey for a time with the Reno Aces, was scouted by the Philadelphia Flyers during their Broadstreet Bullies years, and was notoriously suspended for once punching a referee. But such was his popularity with fans, that a 1,000-name petition demanded that he be reinstated – and he was.
His bravado translated to the race track, where his No. 59 car competed in stock car competition from B.C. to California, earning many trophies in the 1970s. He was once pulled over for speeding in California in his Porsche 911. The officer asked if he had a license to drive that fast, and he replied: ‘as a matter of fact …’ and pulled out his NASCAR license. The officer waved him on without a ticket.
One racing weekend at Vernon’s old Tillicum Raceway, King blew the engine in his car on Saturday, and on race day Christel woke up to find the engine in her car gone, King having worked all night to swap it into the race car. Many fond memories are recalled of road trips in the family station wagon and of dubious “test drives” of the race car around the block with kids hanging on to the roll bar inside.
Many restored classic cars and trucks rolled out of his shop over the years. He continued to play hockey for the Vernon Cougars and later old-timers hockey until recent years. An avid golfer, the dedication he put into all areas of his life was tenfold on the golf course. He was club captain at Spallumcheen Golf Course for many years, and when not at the shop or having lunch and shooting pool at the Village Green, he could be found on the links. He encouraged the same fearless attitude in his children, all of whom were enrolled in sports and inherited his competitive spirit. All the kids were taught to drive in the family tow truck long before they were old enough to get a license.
King passed peacefully in his sleep and is survived by his three children and dear friend Gail. He was predeceased by his wife Christel in 2004. He will be remembered by many. A service will be held at a later date. Donations in his memory may be made the BC Heart & Stroke Foundation. You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence at the family’s on-line obituary at www.MyAlternatives.ca
Arrangements entrusted to Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services Vernon 250-558-0866 & Armstrong 250-546-7237
Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services
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