It's Tuesday, his regular day to volunteer at West Vancouver Seniors' Activity Centre, fielding calls about programs and activities. A veteran volunteer at the busy centre, he's the right man for this job. In 2013, Jack will celebrate 30 years of service with the centre, the same year he and Nancy, his wife, will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary.
Today, however, Jack is making the calls, reminding fellow Canadian service veterans about the annual North Shore Veterans' Reunion and Lunch on Saturday, Oct. 20.
When Jack enlisted in the Canadian army he was dating Nancy Docharty and was four years into an apprenticeship in the composing room at The Province newspaper. It was 1941 and Jack was 23 years old.
Nancy and Jack were almost neighbours - the Docharty family lived at Kingsway and Fraser; the Camerons at 33rd and St. Catherine's - but they met at the Horseshoe Bay Dance Hall in 1939. Nancy remembers, "Fred Hollingsworth, the architect, was the band leader and Jake Ingram, who managed the 17th Street Safeway for many years, played the saxophone."
Jack was spending weekends at Horseshoe Bay, sharing a summer cottage with three West Vancouver friends - Frank Rustad, Bill Atwood and Gordon Gibson. "I was a swimmer and there was a float with a diving board in the Bay. You couldn't swim there now."
Jack joined the 12 Canadian Light Field Ambulance unit with the 4th (Canadian) Armoured Division, providing medical support to four tank regiments: the B.C. Regiment, the Canadian Grenadier Guards, the Governor-General's Foot Guards and the Lake Superior Regiment (Motor).
His section of the unit, closest to the battle lines, operated as a casualty clearing post. "We gave medical attention to the wounded, got them stabilized and into the ambulances back to the main unit."
When Jack enlisted he and Nancy decided they would date other people but it was understood that they would wait for each other.
"Jack was gone four and a half years," Nancy remembers. "Six more months and I would have left him."
Jack laughs and helps himself to another cookie. "These are good. I guess I'll stay another day."
For almost five years, Jack and Nancy, like so many Canadians of their age, existed in a world dominated by war. With those years behind them, they focused on the future: work, home and family.
Jack came home in February 1946, completed his apprenticeship at The Province and married Nancy in May 1948. They bought a lot in West Vancouver and commissioned Frank Tearoe to design and build them a house. At the end of 1949, the Camerons moved into their new home. A few years later, with three children in the family, the Camerons moved into another house, this one designed by architect Zoltan Kiss.
Jack continued working for the newspaper, moving into management of the ad control department at Pacific Press, a well-liked man, admired for his bow ties and appreciated for his excruciating puns.
In the 30 years of his retirement, Jack has not been idle. He racked up 20 years volunteering with the Santa Claus Fund and 10 years with the North Shore Food Bank. Add to that 20 years with the Vancouver Senior Men's Soccer team and 20 with the Vancouver & District Ten Pin Bowling Association.
Every year since it was founded by fellow volunteer, Stan Ward, Jack has attended the annual North Shore Veterans' Reunion and Lunch. "We get together and reminisce and that's important."
This year, North Shore Air, Army and Navy cadets will be there to record those stories. They won't all be about combat, Jack says. This year the veterans will be sharing stories about life before the war - and after.
This year, the Reunion's $15 program fee will go to the Pioneer Memories Fund to support the collection and preservation of the stories of the men and women, including veterans and their families, who built the North Shore communities of North and West Vancouver.
Register for the North Shore Veterans' Reunion on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 from noon to 3: 30 p.m. at West Vancouver Seniors Activity Centre at 604.925.7280, program 835317 or drop into the centre in person.