Steelhead pioneer passes away

Doreen Cameron helped shaped the northern Mission community

Doreen Cameron

A long time Steelhead resident who helped shaped the northern community will be missed by her family, friends, and neighbours.

Doreen Cameron passed away at home on Nov. 14. She was 89 years old.

Most residents considered Doreen the grandmother of the community.

“She always had a house full of kids,” said Bonnie Harber, who lived next to Doreen for close to 40 years. “She cared about everyone. She was a great cook, always making cakes and pie.”

Harber also remembers her grandkids always used to head over to Grandma Doreen’s for cookies whenever they visited.

Doreen had a passion for life and adventure and was also known as the diva of Steelhead. According to her daughter-in-law Terri Cameron, Doreen had a flashy sense of style.

“She dressed like no other with bright colours, floral patterns and sparkles,” said Cameron.

Doreen hosted a happy hour every Friday night at her home for the past year. Sometimes she had baked goodies waiting for her friends, but mostly the women who attended brought along some treats.

“It was a way to keep her company,” said Harber, noting her friend lived on her own and up until a few weeks ago, was still splitting kindling for the wood stove. “We talked about stuff that went on in the old hall and the parties we used to have.”

Doreen attended every community event and everyone knew she wasn’t feeling well this past summer when she missed a barbecue for the first time, Harber added.

Doreen’s health had been deteriorating for years, explained Cameron. Doreen had a heart attack and was in the hospital for about a week before she went home. She passed away less than a week later.

Doreen’s family moved to Mission from Saskatchewan when she was a year old. She grew up in Cedar Valley and met her husband, Pike, for the first time when they were in high school.

Doreen was 18 when she married Pike, who was just 16. Pike’s dad gave them the house he built in 1935 on Johnson Rd. The couple raised their five children in that house and even took in their grandchildren and other neighbourhood kids who needed help.

Pike worked for the forestry department at the District of Mission for more than 20 years and knew every road in the municipal forest. In 2007, the district built a short trail in the municipal forest in Steelhead and named it after the couple. The trail was called Doreen’s Trail, and the pond at the end of it was called Pike’s Pond. Pike passed away in 2009.

Pike didn’t want a service and neither did Doreen. However, a party is being planned for next spring for what would’ve been Doreen’s 90th birthday.

“She had been talking about her birthday party for a long time,” said Cameron. “She would’ve turned 90 come March.”

Harber explained her friend was looking forward to the opening of the new Steelhead community hall. Volunteers had been working on the hall since 2007, but the structure is still unfinished.

There are only about a half dozen volunteers working on it, said Harber, who promised a party for Doreen will be held at the hall regardless of its condition.

“She didn’t want a funeral,” said Cameron. “A party would be fitting. She’s been around this neck of the woods for a long time. Likely, we may honour grandpa at the same time. We never did that for him.”

The party will be held in the spring, but details are not yet known.