Amherst Magazine

Stephen R. McCammon '66

Deceased March 6, 2014

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In Memory

Steve McCammon died peacefully at home on March 6 in his adopted state of South Carolina, succumbing to lung cancer after a yearlong battle. He spent that year, not passively in bed, but living life to the fullest in every way still possible to him—a summer back in his beloved Colorado; many visits with children, grandchildren and friends; 4-wheeling; playing bridge; and a final special trip with his wife, Tammy (Mt. Holyoke '68) to Peru and the ancient site of Machu Picchu.

At Amherst, Steve majored in math and relationships. He chose to remain an "independent," the better to pursue the friendships that were important to him both in and out of the fraternity system. I first got to know Steve in math class, but we bonded when we served at opposite ends of the dishwashing machine in Valentine Hall and discovered that we made an incredibly fast team cleaning up tall stacks of plates during the dinner rush!

Following graduation, Steve embarked on a Ph.D. in math at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. We continued to spend time together when we could, and two years into our respective graduate programs, we traded roles as Best Man at weddings a week apart.

After completing his Ph.D. in 1970, Steve signed on with Bell Aerospace in Arizona, then moved east to New Jersey to work for RCA Command and Control Systems. In one of those amazing and wonderful experiences that seemed to appear regularly on Steve's life-path, RCA sent the McCammons to the Marshall Islands for a couple of years. By this time, his skill as a systems engineer was well recognized, and Ford Aerospace lured him from RCA in 1978. He was stationed in Yorkshire, England, for two years before returning to the States and settling in Colorado Springs. He finished his career in Colorado with Lockheed-Martin.

Steve traveled frequently on business. Whether because of his work assignments or in spite of them, he developed a passion for recreational and educational travel, and he and Tammy had many adventures travelling to other nations and continents. Special memories among these trips include Australia and New Zealand; cruising from Santiago, Chile, around the tip of South America to Buenos Aires, Argentina; China and Thailand; and Egypt and the Holy Lands. These were never just mindless jaunts; there was always something new to learn and appreciate.

After retirement, Steve left Colorado Springs for the mountains of Summit County, Colo., and pursued his passions with renewed enthusiasm—skiing, 4-wheeling, hiking, bridge. In 2010, he and Tammy purchased a seasonal home in South Carolina so they could spend half the year close to two of their three children and several of their grandchildren. To the end, relationship with family was the trump card in decisions about what to do and where to be.

In addition to his devotion to his family, Steve was a warm and loyal friend to many, both at Amherst and in the communities where he lived. I was privileged to count him as my friend.

Kent Morton '66

 

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