James Cameron Wooldridge
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Mar.26, 1938-Sep.13, 2012
Resident of Pleasant Hill
James Cameron Wooldridge, a loving family man and dedicated public servant whose vitality and humor touched countless lives, died Sept. 13 at home in Pleasant Hill after a lengthy illness. He was 74.
Born March 26, 1938 in Phoenix, Az., Cam spent most of his childhood in Martinez, where he graduated from Alhambra High School in 1956. He was an outstanding all-around athlete, earning multiple letters in football, cross country and track and field. As a young man, he started a family and worked at the Phillips Petroleum Refinery in Martinez. He also served in the National Guard. In his late '20s, he took a bold step and changed careers, entering the California Highway Patrol Academy in Sacramento. Called "old man Cam" by his classmates because he already had three children, he graduated in 1968. Assigned to the Los Angeles area, he immediately requested transfer to the Oakland office and received one in less than a year, settling the family in Concord.
He spent more than 10 years as a traffic officer on the freeways of Oakland before transferring to the Contra Costa County office in Martinez. He served as training officer for a brief time, but in his heart he was always a man of the road, and he finished his career behind the wheel of a 5.0 Mustang.
He left his cherished CHP family in 1997, having proudly worn badge number 6400 for 30 years. He always said he wanted to be remembered as an officer who above all valued helping motorists in need, but one who wouldn't shy from writing you for speed when it was deserved.
He was a dad and a friend who was always there. During his working years, he preferred dayshifts - despite the daily 4:30 a.m. alarm. He wanted to be home when his children returned from school so he could participate in their youth sports, often as a coach.
In retirement, he attended Oakland A's games and tailgated at Oakland Raiders games. He enjoyed fishing and waterskiing and storytelling. He liked his beer and pulling practical jokes. He loved children and animals, always keeping a box of biscuits by the front door for the neighborhood dogs that were sure to drop by.
Cam was preceded in death by his parents, Andy and Thelma Wooldridge, and his brother Ray and sister Mary.
He is survived by his wife of 10 years, Chi, and her daughter, Yvonne King and her husband John of Clearfield, Utah ; son Cameron and his wife Monica of Concord, and their children, Janette, Natalie and Jared; son Jeffrey and his wife Leslie, of Mason, Mich., and their children, Edmund and Gwenyth; son Greg and his wife Lynne of Austin, Texas, and their children, Luke and Claire; daughter Toni Fazzio and her husband Christopher of Brentwood, and their children, Christopher and Joseph.
Cam is also survived by his sister, Joyce Pieplow of El Dorado Hills; brother David and his wife Carolyn of Pleasanton; brother Thomas and his wife Keiko of Vancouver, Wash.; and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Cam's life will be held Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. at Fair Oaks Church, 1925 Risdon Rd., Concord, CA.
Published in Contra Costa Times on Sept. 26, 2012