Our stories make us who we are—our town is where they come to life. We're sharing the stories of the people who make Camas a place we're proud to call home. This month, we’re sharing the stories of local historical figures!
Now in her late 90s, Virginia has spent all but one year of her life in Camas (when she lived in Oakland, CA during World War II to help with the war effort). Her decades of lived experience are coupled with a deep desire to not only document but also understand the history of this unique, small town. Virginia’s interest in her hometown began in high school when she led the Camas High School band as a majorette and also worked at a local drug store and Liberty Theatre.
For over 7 decades, Virginia has served as the town’s historian and has spent years collecting, researching, and writing the city of Camas’s history. When Virginia transitioned into a retirement community several years ago, she gifted part of her collection to researchers at the Camas Public Library.
Born and raised in Camas, Candy’s parents were also Camas natives. Her grandparents came to Camas from Greece when her grandmother was pregnant with Candy’s father. Candy remembers her dad taking her to and from school in between his swing shifts at the mill.
After graduating from Camas High School in 1968, Candy earned her BA and MA at Central Washington University. She returned to teach and spent her career educating the youngest Camas residents—kindergarteners! Candy taught over 2,000 kids during her 45 years as a elementary school teacher at Helen Baller Elementary. Retiring in 2017, she taught multiple generations of Camas families.
While Candy is no longer teaching, she is still in the classroom! She now volunteers once a week at Helen Baller Elementary in the Reading Room as well as at Treasure House, where she delivers food backpacks to families in need.
A Camas native, Steve has spent the majority of his life in our small hometown! Steve's parents relocated to Camas from northern Washington after securing jobs at Mountain View High School. Fun fact—Steve’s parents still live in the same home that they built shortly after moving to Camas in the mid-1970s!
After graduating from Camas High School in 1996, Steve earned his BA from Western Washington University and his master’s in Physical Therapy from the University of Montana. After earning his degrees, Steve quickly returned to the PNW and opened his own small business, Washougal Sport and Spine. For the past 10 years, Steve has brought his expertise to the sidelines! Steve works closely with Camas High School’s sports medicine and foot program and assists athletes on the sidelines of all Camas football games.
Nan’s roots run deep! Nan’s grandfather came to Camas in the 1880s and her father was born in Washougal just a few decades later. Nan’s father was a pharmacist and owned Sav-O Drugs while Nan was a child. As an adult, she ran Nan’s Hallmark out of that same building for many years. Now 80 years old, Nan has spent almost her entire life in Camas, with the exception of her college years at University of Washington.
Nan holds a special place in Camas’s history. In 1983 she was elected as the first female mayor of the City of Camas. Nan advocated for a huge shift in opportunity in Camas and was instrumental in bringing a light industrial park to the city. In 2006, the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce named Nan “Political Leader of the Century.”