John Derwood Camp

CAMP, John Derwood

August 18, 1931-Nov. 6, 2010


John Derwood Camp passed away peacefully at his home in the early morning hours of Nov. 6, 2010 after an extended illness.


John was born in Denton, Texas. At 18, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 1949. After serving two tours of duty during the Korean War where he served with distinction, John returned home and enrolled in Louisiana State University. He married Betty Schiver the year he graduated from university with a Bachelor of Science in Physics. After, John did graduate work at Louisiana State University before securing a position at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as a research scientist.


While working at NASA John also attended Virginia Polytechnique Institute where he did extended graduate work. While there he also completed research on the thermodynamic properties of the coatings of the Echo 2 Satellite. John was also very much a family man. During these years he fathered three daughters, Margaret Elizabeth, Rose Mary, and Barbara Ellen to complement his family which included four step children; Joseph, Michael, Andrew, Susan Amana and later, Marian Theresa.


When the Vietnam War began both John and Betty were very opposed. Worried about his step-sons being dragged into the war and John himself under fire at NASA for his open stance in opposition to the war, and threatened with the loss of his security clearance, the decision was made to immigrate to Canada.


John immediately found a teaching position at Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology in northern Ontario where he taught Math and Physics for 32 years. He was also the chief steward officer and president of OPSEAU (Ontario Public Service Employees Union) local 653 for many of those years. He earned the respect of the administrators and his own colleagues when he represented them during extensive grievance proceedings.


Upon retirement John moved to British Columbia to be closer to his children and grandchildren. Active in the Council of Canadians until his illness slowed him down, John spent his last years much as his first; engaged with society and learning and teaching.


John passed away at his home in Comox, B.C. surrounded by his family. Courageous and thoughtful, mindful of his own influence on others, John will not only be grieved by his loving family and friends, but also by colleagues and students. He was a warrior for working people to the end.