Michael Aloysius O’Camb, 74, passed away peacefully at his residence in Fillmore on Sunday, December 19, 2021. He fell asleep in his recliner and never woke up. He would want you to know it was not from COVID! Mike was born March 4th, 1947 in Alhambra, California to Aloysius Joseph & Lillian Marie Schlafer O’Camb. Mike was an only child, raised in Baldwin Park and West Covina, CA. He attended 11 years of Catholic School and developed unbelievable penmanship and the most beautiful handwriting you have ever seen. Mike met his lifelong friend Tony Molina in kindergarten, and they served as altar boys alongside Danny Walton who played professional baseball for 16 years. They enjoyed lifting weights and working on cars. Mike spent summers at Al & Lil’s cabin in beautiful Forest Falls, CA near other members of the O’Camb family.
Mike was proud to have attended Bishop Amat Memorial High School but he went to public school for his senior year. He graduated from Edgewood High School in West Covina where he met his next lifelong friend Mike Bozek. The three best friends were fascinated with the military service of the Fighting O’Camb Brothers. Mike’s dad and six of his uncles served in World War II, while wives worked in the war effort at home. He was extremely proud of the family name O’Camb, and the patriotism associated with it. When the Vietnam War broke out, the three friends joined different branches of the service in 1965. They were still best friends at the time of Mike’s death.
Mike enlisted in the Navy as a jet mechanic aboard the U.S.S. Constellation aircraft carrier as part of CVA-64. He spent most of the next four years at sea, and participated in numerous combat operations working on fighters, E-2’s and P-3’s. He received the Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Medal and Navy Achievement Medal with Combat “V”. His service to God and Country strengthened his belief in America, a Republic created by the people, for the people. He visited Japan and the Philippines, but never traveled internationally again.
Upon completion of his military service, Mike had a whirlwind romance with Linda Whitney and was soon engaged. They married in 1969, and had four beautiful children over the next six years. Mike studied briefly at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA and worked primarily as a machinist and numismatist (rare coin dealer) while Linda held down the fort with the kids. Mike had a keen eye, and paid such close attention to detail that he became a well-respected coin grader in Southern California. The family lived in Valinda, West Covina, and Ontario.
In 1981, Mike and Linda made the biggest decision of their lives, and moved the family to Fillmore, Utah. It proved to be the best decision they ever made. They stayed with Doris and Earl Anderson who were lifelong friends of Al and Lil after working the WWII war effort together. Mike needed a job, so Earl stretched the truth a bit to the owner of Big K Trucking in Kanosh, and told him Mike had been driving trucks for years, so they hired him sight unseen. Soon Mike & Earl were headed out to the oil fields in Evanston, Wyoming. Earl literally taught Mike to drive a semi on the way there.
In Fillmore, the kids thrived in arts and athletics, and the family was active in the Catholic Church. Mike got a new job based in Fillmore, hauling gas around Utah for Premium Oil Company. The long nights of late-night talk radio solidified his status as a platinum level conspiracy theorist. After retiring from truck driving, Mike spent many years working at Pioneer Market in Fillmore. Miguelito (little Mike) was a fan favorite of many customers, because he was always up for a good conversation. Mike was a walking encyclopedia, the most well-read person you could ever meet. When the family first moved to Utah, he read The Book of Mormon and other LDS doctrine just to have a better understanding of his new friends and neighbors. Mike loved Utah, Millard County, and Fillmore – he resided within the city limits for 40 years until his death. He enjoyed the geology and rockhounding opportunities, and driving in the mountains.
Mike and Linda divorced in 2001, but remained close until the end. Linda joined the kids at Mike’s bedside each time he cheated death in recent years, and she did as much for him as she could since moving north after the divorce. Mike’s older daughter Cheryl is a nurse and was dedicated to caring for him. Although relatively self-sufficient, Mike was as hard headed and stubborn as can be (especially when it came to doctors) as his health deteriorated. Her patience and grace are an inspiration to all of us, and created a special bond between them.
Many memories were made with Cheryl's kids from a period of time that Mike lived with them. He watched Johnny Tremain, changed the grandkids diapers and used his “nursing skills” when they would get the flu giving them orange juice so they’d have something to throw up. Just like his mom, Mike loved animals and was always sure that Cheryl never fed hers. In recent years we all shared some great laughs and good times with him. His willingness to squeeze into a go-cart at Rush Fun Center knowing full well what it would take to get out was impressive! He was saddened when he wasn’t able to attend weddings, special family events or parties. He was so proud of his grandkids Bryanna, Landon, Kaela, Derek, Garrett, Audrey, Brinley, Hayden, Carson, Luke, Lindy, Claire, Emmie, Lexie, and Hallie – in chronological order.
Mike was an avid reader, with a photographic memory. He retained everything he read, except the surgeon general’s warning on every pack of cigarettes. He started smoking in 1965 at flight school in Memphis and didn’t stop until 2021. Yes that’s 56 years! He was one tough cookie. Most every story he told started with “I was outside smoking a cigarette when…” Sadly, his love of a good stogie led to years of poor health, after being diagnosed with COPD and congestive heart failure. Even though his body was failing, his brain was as sharp as a tack until his last breath. Just last week he was showing grandkids his Navy cruise books, and remembering every detail.
Mike was a living history book. He studied the Lewis and Clark Expedition extensively and traveled much of their route from winter quarters in North Dakota, all the way to Fort Clatsop in Astoria, Oregon. Probably his most memorable drive was camping with Steve & kids through the Canadian Rockies. On that 20-day road trip they saw Lake Louise, Banff and Jasper National Parks, Athabasca Falls, and had a fun filled 3-day stay with the McKee’s in Vanderhoof, BC before continuing west to Victoria. The car ferry landed them in Port Angeles, WA to tour Olympic National Park. He often spoke of the scenic drive along the Columbia River to its confluence with the Snake. He jet-skied and rode ATV’s for the first time, and cherished those memories with grandkids.
Mike loved the big sky of Montana and also visited Yellowstone & Glacier National Parks. He thoroughly enjoyed Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota and was lucky enough to experience a patriotic 4th of July weekend there years back, with fireworks launched from the top of the presidents’ heads. He commented, “Wow, these are almost as good as Fillmore!” He also visited one of his favorite cousin’s Jimmy (Pat) Price in Oregon in recent years. They shared a lot of childhood memories and had a nice visit. Mike loved to play slot machines, Wii bowling with the grandkids, and Yahtzee games until the early morning hours while his daughter Jen played his favorite oldies. He was an opinionated person, but at the same time the most generous, caring soul you could ever meet.
Mike loved to surprise the grandkids with treats, and could sit down and polish off a bag of chips and a jar of cheese or a container of chocolate frosting with a spoon – all while talking about sports, politics, religion or any other topic you’d like to discuss. Most of all he liked to talk about the weather, and make sure all of his family was safe in their travels wherever they were, checking in frequently with the kids and grandkids. He loved studying the Rand McNally Road Atlas, and each new edition of the Farmer’s Almanac. He abstained from electronic communication devices, and will probably be one of the last humans to never have sent an email or text message. His only electronics were a portable radio, the TV remote, and a flip phone.
In the past year Mike spent most of his time watching the history channel or westerns. Ok, maybe some FoxNews and NewsMax too. He loved John Wayne (especially the original True Grit), Audie Murphy, and Gunsmoke & had seen them all many times. Mike was a Constitutional scholar, and a purist in his interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. He self-published a pocket booklet explaining why it is codified as an inalienable right. He was a God-fearing man, dedicated to country and family. We will miss him and his contagious laugh dearly, and pray that he is pain free and walking with God watching over us.
Mike is survived by his ex-wife Linda, children; Steve (fiancée Sherri) O’Camb, George (Amanda) O’Camb of Glendale, AZ, Cheryl (Shane) Brunson of Fillmore, and Jen (Dean) Coy of Clinton, Utah, as well as the 15 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren Aleeya and Gage. He was preceded in death by his parents, as well as a grandson Chance O’Camb.
A viewing will be held Sunday, December 26, 2021 from 6:00 to 7:00 PM at Olpin Stevens Funeral Home, 55 W. 200 S., Fillmore, UT. A Rosary will be held Monday, December, 27, 2021 at 10:00 AM in the Holy Family Mission Catholic Church at 445 S. 200 E., Fillmore, UT. The Funeral Mass will be held there at 11:00 AM. Interment with military honors will be at the Fillmore City Cemetery, 325 E. 600 S., Fillmore, UT immediately following the funeral. Mike will be laid to rest beside his parents Al & Lillian. Please visit https://olpinstevensfuneralhome.com/obituaries/mic... for more details and maps.