Ray Cameron, 66, of Lostine, has lived in Wallowa County since he was seven. He is the son of Keith and Georgia Cameron, who ranched cattle and trained horses in Wallowa and near Adrian, in Malheur County.
Ray graduated from Wallowa High school, married his high school sweetheart, third-generation Wallowa Countian Patricia Johnson, daughter of Evelyn and Art Johnson.
Ray went to work in Pendleton at the Prowler trailer factory and irrigated for the John Smith and Beamer ranch before returning to his dad’s ranch. He bought 260 irrigated acres of his dad’s Lostine ranch and developed his own ranch in 1972.
The couple had three children and Ray made his two sons, Travis and Nick, partners when he purchased the Ace Hardware Store in Enterprise in 2000. After the untimely death of Travis in 2008, Nick took over management of the store. Ray and Patricia’s daughter Cindy Shirley lives in Maupin, Ore.. Ray and Patricia have six grandchildren.
Ray does not have a charity he gives to “formally” but can be counted on to support “all kids activities in the county” and says “anytime anybody asks me for help, I’ll do it. I don’t care what it is.”
Q. Why do you live in Wallowa County?
A. I like it here. It’s one of the nicest places to live I’ve ever been in. The people are nice, the scenery is nice ... I like to hunt and fish and handle cattle and horses, and that’s all here.
Q. What has Wallowa County taught you?
A. I have learned to handle what Wallowa County has dealt to my family. I also like to treat other people how I would like to be treated and I’ve learned that here. I’ve seen people treated otherwise, badly, and I don’t like that. And, Wallowa County has helped teach me to enjoy the outdoors because the opportunity is right out my backdoor.
Q. Can you recall the first book you checked out of the library and can you recommend a book you’ve read recently?
A. The first book was “Trap Lines North: A True Story of the Canadian Woods” by Stephen W. Meader about a trapper in Canada and how he survived.
I was in the fifth grade, about 10 years old, and in public school then. I’d been homeschooled until then.
And I remember the second book: “Grass Beyond the Mountains” by Richmond P. Hobson, a true story about three cowboys from Wyoming who went to Canada and carved out a cattle empire during the Great Depression (first book of a three-part saga).
The latest book I’ve read that I can recommend is “7003 Days: 21 Years in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness” written by local folks Jim and Holly Akenson. It’s about their time in the wilderness in Idaho. They were on the Salmon River managing Taylor Ranch, the University of Idaho’s wilderness research station. You can get that at “The Bookloft” in Enterprise.