Lud, an only child, was born to Ludger Richard Camp and Helen Glynn Camp on August 8, 1928 at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco.
Mr. Camp led a rich and adventurous life. His first venture into business occurred at age eight, when he took a newspaper route in San Francisco’s financial district. He loved the job because business executives paid him with dollar bills and told him to keep the change. From that, he learned the importance of a healthy profit margin.
At 16, during the early years of World War II, he left school to enlist in the Army Air Corps. He became one of the highest ranked trainees in Texas. However, he was honorably discharged when it was discovered that he was underage. Mr. Camp then enlisted in the Merchant Marines, where he was sent to Catalina Island. He loved to tell friends about his difficulty concentrating on exercise because Norma Jean Baker — later Marilyn Monroe — would saunter by in the afternoons. He was deployed to the Philippines and was on the last supply ship to leave with General McArthur’s troops. At the end of the war, he was on the first supply ship into Poland. Lud saw most of the world during those years and developed a passion for the sea and travel. During the Korean War, he was sent to Kansas for officer’s training but had emergency surgery requiring months of recuperation. He received an honorable discharge.
Following the war, Mr. Camp completed his education at the Old San Francisco Polytechnical High School. His father had been vice president of a San Francisco produce company, so after graduation, Lud decided to follow his father’s footsteps by taking a job at a produce company. He quickly decided that it wasn’t the right career for him, so he joined his uncle in retail sales at the Chevrolet dealership on Van Ness Avenue. He moved to the Cadillac Division of General Motors. This led to a long career in the automobile industry. He later completed the executive training program at Buick in Michigan. He was offered a vice president’s position, but turned it down to return to his native California, where he was appointed district manager. In 1959, he acquired his first auto dealership — Renault/Peugeot in Chico. Throughout his life, he was dealer and operator for Triumph/Volvo, Chrysler, American Motors, AMC/Jeep, Mazda, Austin-Healy, Cadillac-Pontiac, GMC, Chevrolet and Ford.
Mr. Camp retired at age 50 but soon came out of retirement, working as an auto consultant selling dealerships throughout the western United States. In 1981, while selling a dealership in San Diego, he decided to purchase another — Corral Ford in Lemon Grove. He sold it in 1996 and again retired. In addition, Mr. Camp had obtained his brokerage licenses for real estate and insurance.
Mr. Camp was an active community leader and philanthropist who supported numerous nonprofit organizations throughout California. His many community interests have included the Rotary Club, St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, the La Jolla Cancer Society, Newcomers Club of La Jolla, the Old Globe Theater and the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library.
Mr. Camp was active in many professional organizations statewide and nationally. Among other positions, he served for three years as chairman of both the San Diego Ford Dealers Advertising Association and Director of the Southern Ford Dealers Advertising Association. He had also served as advertising chairman and as national dealer council representative for AMC/Jeep, and served two years on the executive board of the Santa Clara County Auto Dealers. Over the years, he was the recipient of many outstanding dealer awards.
In 1947, Mr. Camp married Mildred Catherine Reynolds. They had three children. The family resided in Los Altos before moving to Atherton. The marriage ended in divorce.
He married Karin Watia McGhee in 1984. They resided in La Jolla and remained married for 28 years, until his death. Having been an only child, Mr. Camp enjoyed the companionship of Karin’s siblings — six brothers and two sisters. He also became stepfather to Karin’s three daughters, Kimberly, Stephanie and Alison.
Mr. Camp was passionate about his Irish heritage and that he was born and raised in San Francisco. He was thrilled when the San Francisco grandchildren attended St. Cecilia Parochial School where he had gone to grammar school and had made so many friends. Since all of his family records were lost in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, he spent many years tracing his roots. He also considered the number 8 his lucky number and loved celebrating his 80th birthday on 8/8/08.
His favorite music was jazz, and he shared this love with his sons, Rich and Robert. He knew all of the best jazz and music clubs in San Francisco and sought out other clubs wherever he and Karin traveled. He later developed a love of fado, opera and chamber music. Music sustained him in his later years of illness. When his stepdaughter, Alison McGhee, recently spent three weeks visiting, her fiancé, Thierry Vilban, brought his alto sax from Paris and played every afternoon for Lud.
Mr. Camp also loved fine cuisine and enjoyed socializing with friends over good food. He especially enjoyed the gourmet dinner group to which he and Karin belonged for many years. While living in San Francisco, they were known for their all-night New Year’s Eve party, as well as the January dungeness crab dinners. Lud loved golf and sailing. Memberships included several Bay Area golf clubs, Southwestern Yacht Club and the La Jolla Cotillion. He and Karin traveled extensively until he was too ill to do so.
Lud was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, stepbrother, uncle and friend. He is survived by his wife, Karin; his three children Cheryl (Robert) Dicus, Ludger (“Rick”) Camp III, and Robert Camp; three stepchildren Kimberly (Charles) Ingram, Stephanie McGhee and Alison McGhee; as well as his ten grandchildren Analise Dicus, Daniella Helweg, Cassie (David) Fredregill, Niall, Catherine and Niamh O’Kane, Sasha and Jack Condas, and Julien and Francois Ercolani. Mr. Camp was given the gift of his first great-granddaughter, Chyenne Lynn Fredregill, who was born just two days before his death. He was thrilled to be able to look at photos of her before he passed.
The family requests that you join them in celebrating his life at All Hallow’s Catholic Church in La Jolla on Friday, May 18 at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in memory of Ludger Richard Camp be mailed to San Diego Hospice, 4311 Third Ave., San Diego, CA 92103-1407 or to Scripps Health Foundation to benefit the Department of Neurology for Parkinson’s Research in consultation with Dr. Melissa Houser, 10666 N. Torrey Pines Rd., 109N, La Jolla, CA, 92037.
The family wishes to extend a very special thank you to a Dr. George Dailey and Dr. Melissa Houser as well as other medical staff at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla and San Diego Hospice for their exceptional support and care, especially his nurses Sonya and Christi, and teamwork of Mary, Paul, Jim and Tracy. His physical therapist, Lisa, was a key player as well. Lud’s four wonderful caregivers — Earlene, Delsy, Claudia and Doris Rose, along with Nelly — completed the circle of love.