Donald Max Camp Sr.
1925 - 2019
July 29, 1925
November 12, 2019
Doughty Calhoun O\'Meara
1100 Truxtun Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93301

July 29, 1925 - November 12, 2019
Farmer, Businessman, Innovator and Beloved Family Man.

A joint funeral service will be officiated by Pastor Jeff Chandler November 25, 2019, at 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1705 17th Street in Bakersfield, CA for Donald Max Camp Sr., 94, and his wife Izetta Agnew Camp, 92, who died peacefully at home within days of each other surrounded by their family. Private interment will follow.

Don was one of two children born to cotton pioneer Wofford Benjamin Camp Sr. (W.B.) and Georgia Anna App Camp while his parents were living on the United States Department of Agriculture's Shafter Cotton Research Experiment Station. The family moved often while his father worked for the USDA. When they returned to Kern County his parents enlisted the help of Dust Bowl migrants to construct a home using well-insulated box cars east of Shafter. There as a young boy he learned how to drive a tractor.

Don attended Kern County Union High School where he was on the track team. He attended Clemson College, then an all-male military school in South Carolina before deciding to enlist. He needed his parent's signature to enter the Army Air Corps. He was a fighter pilot during World War II running training flights between New York, Florida and Texas. After the war, he returned to college and graduated summa cum laude in three years with a degree in Animal Husbandry. His ambition was to become a cattleman. He helped run livestock in the Kern River Valley but soon found out he could better support the "cowboy habit" through cotton and potato farming.

While traveling back and forth between Kern County and South Carolina where his family operated Buckfield Plantation in Yemassee, SC, he accepted an invitation from Izetta Agnew to attend a dance with her at Winthrop College. Her father, a Clemson classmate of Don's father, insisted she write a letter inviting him as he likely didn't know many people in the region. He courted her for several years. After a six-week engagement, the couple wed in 1952 and their union was blessed with five children.

Compassionate and caring, Don often helped Dust Bowl families who arrived with optimism but little else. He empathized with them, having moved around so much as a child. There was always a steady stream of stranded motorists seeking help at the back door of their ranch house near the highway. Don invited every person in, including a jail escapee.

Long after the war, his love for flying never diminished. He flew his own plane, enjoyed fly fishing and bird hunting, and after their children were raised, Don and Izetta traveled the world together.

Quiet, unassuming and a man of humility, Don was a large presence in the agriculture industry and his contributions were innumerable. He championed the family farming operations founded by his father by leading them into the 21st century while embracing industry changes with innovative practices and pioneering crop management. Along with his sons, D.M.Camp & Sons, under Don's leadership sought to be a leader in state and national agricultural issues while advocating for local, state, and federal water projects and in supporting farmers here in the Central Valley.

Today the company farms nuts, citrus, grapes and vegetables in Kern County. In addition to the John Deere Engine Distributorship serving the Western United States, the family owns and operates John Deere Agriculture dealerships serving the Southern San Joaquin Valley as well as the high desert area of eastern Kern County.

In 2004 Don, patriarch of the longtime farming family was honored by the California chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers as their Distinguished Agriculturalist of the Year. "There are a lot of people who do what I do. We've run our farming operation with some awfully good people over the years," he told The Bakersfield Californian , underscoring his modest manner. His values and ethics made him widely admired.

Outside of work, with a servant's heart, Don gave of his time and resources to Mercy Hospital, Bakersfield Christian High School, Calcot, Cotton Incorporated, the American Cancer Society and First Presbyterian Church. He was a member of Stockdale Country Club, the Bakersfield Rotary Club and served on the boards of Kern View Foundation, the Boys Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, the Quest Club and on the committees of the California Cotton Study and Cal Poly School of Agriculture. For 31 years Don served as president of the Cawelo Water District as well as California Planting Cotton Seed Distributors. A man of the soil, he often said: "I just like to farm."

Although accomplished in many ways, Don never sought accolades. "Work hard and be good at what you do, but don't have a big ego and put yourself first above everything," he said.

Don and Izetta truly enjoyed each other's company. By each other's side in life for 67 years of marriage, now they are together again for eternity, after just a few days apart. Their reputation and integrity meant everything to them and together they instilled that in their family.

Don was preceded in death by his parents and brother Wofford Benjamin Camp Jr. He is survived by his sister-in-law Floride Findley, children Georgia Bell, Don Jr. and his wife Debbie, Edwin and his wife Kaye, Clayton and his wife Karrie and Carolyn Pandol and her husband Jack. Survived by 13 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and a 14th on the way. Special thanks to Juana Mendoza, Maria Leal, Maria Vasquez, Aida Mendoza, and Ira Ali for their care.

In lieu of flowers, Don's memory may be honored with a donation to Alzheimers Disease Association of Kern County, 4203 Buena Vista Road, Bakersfield, CA 93311, Boy Scouts of America Southern Sierra Council, 2417 M Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301, or Hoffmann Hospice, 4325 Buena Vista Road - Building A, Bakersfield, CA 93311.

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Bakersfield Californian from Nov. 21 to Nov. 24, 2019.
Funeral service
First Presbyterian Church
1705 17th Street, Bakersfield, California
Funeral services provided by:
Doughty Calhoun O'Meara
Sponsored by Doughty Calhoun O'Meara.
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9 Entries
My sincere condolences to the entire, extended Camp family in the losses of both your precious parents.

My father, DOYLE RYAN, was blessed with having had for many years very close personal and business relationships with Don, Izetta, as well as W.B. Dad had the greatest respect for all three, always speaking of them with genuine fondness.

May you cherish your memories and legacy of your wonderful family, as you celebrate the closeness you shared.
Vicki Ryan Morris
January 12, 2020
My Dad, Robert Tharp, worked for Don on Ranch 43 for many years. He had the greatest respect for him and I believe it was mutual, as Don and Izetta attended his service in November, 2006. My heartfelt condolences to all who loved and will miss him and his lovely wife.

Debra Tharp Russell
November 26, 2019
I had the opportunity to fish with Don in Southeast Alaska for many years and enjoyed watching he and my father play jokes on each other and show a true love for the sport. Don was an amazing man that was sincere and a very giving person. He and my father shared many great adventures over 25 years ago fishing together in Alaska that were challenging trips and really roughing it...I was so impressed in the later years to witness how strong he was fishing each day over 8 hrs and loving every second. I only hope that I can do half what he did when I get to my older years. Thank you Don for your friendship and the great times we shared together, you have been a true mentor and inspiration to me and our family.
RIP Don!
David Janes, Jr
November 24, 2019
Over the years our family's have touched from afar. The Camp name was always spoken of with great respect.
My thoughts and respect to the family.
Michael Mendiburu
November 24, 2019
Thank you RIP
Ellis Villalovos
November 23, 2019
It was a pleasure to know Mr.Camp he was politeness he would call me young man at the fair gatherings very humble to have known him My condolences to the family and especially Clayton thank you
Bennie Bravo
November 22, 2019
Our deepest condolences to the Camp families, (Georgia Bell ) . We are saddened by your loss... To have parents leave your presence so close together, but to celebrate their passing as one, with so many years of love and family, is a blessing in itself. Our hearts and prayers are with you all. May your precious parents rest in peace together and be held tightly in the arms of our Lord. Prayers.....
Robert & Carma Tatum
Charlotte, NC
Rod & Carma Tatum
November 21, 2019
It was great to have come to know you Don, my wife and I always enjoyed our talks with you and Izetta. Even though it was business, you always took the time to tell us something funny. You will be missed Don. With a heavy heart, our Condolences to the Camp Family.
Ron & Inez Silva
Ron & Inez Silva
November 19, 2019
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief, and find comfort from knowing that God draws close to the broken-hearted.
November 19, 2019