The little lady with the silver hair and the golden personality that greets J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum visitors and regulars alike with her pretty smile is getting ready to hang up her welcome mat.
Well, sorta, that is.
Pat Cameron, after being an employee at the museum for 30 years and three days, has decided to retire. Her last official day will be October 3.
“My daughter and son-in-law have both retired and they have been urging me to do it also. I guess it is time,” she said during a visit.
At the same time, however, her time as a museum guide and helper will not come to a permanent end any time soon.
“The only way I would accept Pat’s letter of resignation was if she agreed to continue as a part-time volunteer guide,” boss Wayne McCombs, museum executive director, was quick to point out.
“Oh yes, I have loved working here so long that I can’t simply walk away completely,” Pat said with a smile.
She adds by not working a routine schedule she will have time to follow up on some of her other “loves”.
Pat pointed out she is a “people-person”, needing to be arounds others. At the same time she says she is also a “homebody”.
“Being first a people-person, is why I went back to work when we (husband Bracken and her) retired from our Tulsa business in the late 1980s and moved back to Claremore,” she explained, “but I also enjoy cooking and keeping house and enjoying my home.”
The Cameron’s owned and operated a jewelry-gift shop in Tulsa. While she admits she wasn’t ready to retire, her husband was. The logical location for their retirement was Pat’s hometown, Claremore.
Following her widowed mother’s death Pat and Bracken purchased the family home from the estate. Pat was back in the same house on Sixth Street where she grew up. She lived there until high school graduation in 1947.
“Bracken took right to retirement. He met a group of men he became friends with and they would meet down at the donut shop each morning,” she said, “Meanwhile I needed something to do after I finished my daily cooking and cleaning.”
The couple agreed she needed to find a job. It wasn’t a long search.
She was hired at the now 20-year-old J.M. Davis Gun Museum by Lee Good, executive director and curator and expert on firearms history.
Due to the following 30 years of Pat’s employment he showed he also knew something about hiring good employees.
“I have not missed a scheduled day of work since I started…and I have never been late,” she adds, “I have loved working here. I have a deep interest in history and because of that what better place to work than at a museum?”
Now approaching the end of keeping a regular working schedule, Pat has no intentions of making other major changes. Her husband died 11 years ago and she continues to manage the same living quarters they shared together.
“My sister took me to Oklahoma City sometime back and showed me these fantastic living facilities. She said she was going to get each of us an apartment. I told her to just get one. I was not moving from Claremore,” Pat said, “The whole place was beautiful, but not for me.”
There is one place she may spend more time enjoying.
“I love going to the Claremore Senior Center for their meals at lunch time, but more so to see so many friends there. Several of them have been asking when I would be coming more often. Well, tell them I’ll be there soon.”