Donald Campbell Cameron, 61, former director of planning and urban design for the Irvine Co. who designed major portions of Orange County, has died at the age of 61.
Cameron died Sunday at his home in Laguna Niguel, said a nephew, Tom Reed of Pasadena. The family declined to state the cause of death.
From 1959 to 1961, as a young project director at William Pereira Associates, Cameron prepared the original campus plan for UC Irvine.
At Pereira, he also worked on the master plan for Irvine Ranch, including the current urban framework for central Orange County. Later as the Irvine Co.'s chief planner, he helped implement and expand that master plan.
“Mr. Cameron has made his mark on the landscape of Orange County,” the American Planning Assn. said in granting Cameron its Distinguished Leadership Award earlier this year.
“Those who have worked with him,” the citation said, “know he brings to his practice a passion for integrity, creativity and what was once described as a ‘Jesuit-like intensity’ to balancing the often-competing goals of community design, market demand, environmental sensitivity and community interests.”
A graduate of Stanford University, Cameron was a visiting lecturer for 10 years at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He later operated a private consulting firm from his home.
Cameron wrote many scholarly reports, articles and project critiques on urban planning. A lover of words, he also wrote for fun--in 1983 and 1984 winning “dishonorable mentions” in the Bulwer-Lytton Contest, an annual competition for the worst opening sentence to a hypothetical bad novel.
The contest was named for the late writer Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, who opened his novel “Paul Clifford” with a long and rambling sentence that begins with the immortal phrase, “It was a dark and stormy night. . . .”
Cameron told The Times he invented his convoluted sentences, paragraphs and plots while driving the freeways. Frustrated because he always wanted to write a mystery or crime novel but never had, he said he entered the contest thinking, “Dammit, at least I can write a sentence.”
He is survived by his mother, Kathleen Campbell Richards, and a sister, Patricia Cameron Reed, both of San Juan Capistrano, four nephews and four grandnieces.
Memorial services are scheduled at 11 a.m. on Saturday at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Laguna Beach.
The family has requested that memorial donations be made to the AIDS services Foundation, 7982 Sky Park Circle, Suite J, Irvine, Ca. 92714, or to the Special Studio Fund at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Mass.