Cameron Powell Fordyce
“You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again.”
John Denver – Annie’s Song
Cameron Powell Fordyce was born on August 24, 1937, in St. Louis, MO. He passed away on July 22, 2021, in New Bedford, MA, surrounded by family. He leaves behind his devoted and beloved wife of 46 years, Jackie Fordyce, his children Cameron Fordyce, Dr. Hilary Fordyce, Lori Lynch, and Rob Bennett, his grandchildren, Isabelle and Bennett Lynch, Ilaria Fordyce, Lucy Donaldson, and Levi and Georgia Bennett, his sister Dr. Nancy Fordyce, and nephews and nieces Joel Nevison and Lisa Abney, Hans, Mark, Leigh and Michael Tiedemann, James Dartt, and Amy Ashton.
Cam’s life was full of adventure, music, and dedication to his family and friends. He was a man of contrasts—deeply private and charismatic, quick-witted and unassuming, dynamic and reverent. He was adored by everyone who knew him for his natural ability to make those around him feel loved and at ease.
He grew up in St Louis in the 1940s. While attending John Burroughs School, he built enduring friendships. He spent his summers in Massachusetts, split between work on a family friend’s farm, and on Naushon Island with his mother, sister, and cousins. Following high school, Cam enrolled at Harvard and then Columbia Business School, beginning a more permanent life on the east coast.
Music shaped Cam’s life. During college, he became a founding member of the Raunch Hands, a folk band defined by complex and gorgeous harmonizing that highlighted Cam’s distinctive baritone voice. They became a fixture in the Cambridge folk scene and cut two records with Epic before disbanding to pursue their careers. Their friendship and connection have endured, and in 1982, they reunited for the first time during a vacation in Nantucket, introducing their children to their music. These reunions would continue sporadically for almost 40 years, culminating in one last gig on Naushon Island in August of 2019, bookending an extraordinary bond of friendship and music.
Cam started his family in 1963, with the arrival of Cameron (aka Smokey the bear), with Hilary following in 1965. When Cam and Jackie married in 1975, two families merged, with Lori and Rob joining the fray. Cam had his hands full with four young kids, but he was a natural and gifted parent—always providing support, advice, and encouragement. He coached Smokey’s and Hilary’s basketball and baseball teams when they were in elementary and middle school, and taught all four kids to ski, sail, canoe, fish, drive a car and even handle a chain saw. Whether it was showing them around in a sailboat, helping them with their backhand in tennis, or guiding them with homework assignments, Cam parented with patience and consistency. The four kids adored Cam for his steadfast love, encouragement, and devotion to being a constant presence in their lives.
Cam was a supportive, loving husband to Jackie. Their relationship began in Boston when Jackie summoned up the courage to ask him for a date - they never looked back. Annie’s Song became their love song. When Cam sang it - which he did at every anniversary - Jackie would melt.
Cam dedicated most of his career to banking, first with the Bank of New York and then at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, where he helped to establish the Automated Clearing House in New England in the late 70's. After Cam retired from the Fed in 1994, he and Jackie spent four months traveling in Italy and Greece, before returning to Cambridge. He started a second career mentoring students in the Master of Finance program at Northeastern University’s Graduate School of Business, helping to place them in internships. Cam had a unique ability to teach, and he was generous with his time and knowledge.
Cam’s natural inclination to help others also spilled into his home life as he supported Jackie’s passion for renovating real estate. He tirelessly helped paint, clean and refurbish many properties in Marion, Cambridge and later, Tucson. When he wasn’t working or having a paint brush thrust into his hand, he loved to explore the coast of Buzzards Bay by sailboat or kayak. Travel became a mainstay for Cam and Jackie over the years. When the kids were small, the trips took place in New England and Canada in their tired and iconic 1972 Ford Econoline Van. As the kids grew, they began traveling out west to ski and hike, and eventually to explore Europe, including visits to Smokey and his family in Italy and to visit Rome, their favorite city.
Cam and Jackie returned to Italy several times over the following years, including a memorable four months in Rome, during which Cam studied Italian and took voice lessons from a professional Italian tenor. He rediscovered music during this time and began singing in the St. Gabriel choir and Longey School of Music in Massachusetts, which prepared him for a fourteen-year run with Tucson’s Sons of Orpheus Men’s Choir from 2004 to 2018. During this time, he joined their concert tours twice in Europe, and he also participated in summer sessions with the Berkshire Choral Festival. The annual Sons of Orpheus Christmas concert at Mission San Xavier del Bac was always a highlight of his year. Cam’s voice was extraordinary, and while he was self-deprecating about his vocal talent, he delighted in singing at family gatherings and impromptu folk sessions with friends in Marion and Tucson.
What truly defined Cam was how deeply he cared for those in his life. He was profoundly kind. He was a world class listener. He was a man of his word. His calm was legendary. Cam could always be relied upon to provide sage advice and navigate the trickiest of family and personal conflicts. He was the family’s safe harbor, providing unconditional love to those around him by being loving, accepting, and available for them, however and whenever necessary.
Cam served on the board of the Buzzards Bay Musicfest for six years, which he considered an honor and a pleasure. Donations in his memory may be made be made to: The Buzzards Bay Musicfest P.O. Box 433 Marion, MA 02738.