GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. – Judy Cameron, 98, a resident at Fairview Commons Nursing home for the past two-and-a-half years, peacefully crossed the threshold of death in her sleep on July 9, 2015.
For the past 50 years, she lived in the Adirondacks at her camp on Upper St. Regis Lake and at the Will Rogers senior housing in Saranac Lake. She was the daughter of Edward Peterson, M.D., and Mary Peterson, who had bought a camp on Upper St. Regis in 1925.
She was born in New York City, delivered at home by her father, a pediatric surgeon with a practice on Park Avenue. She attended Brearley School for 12 years and then Smith College, graduating in 1938 with a degree in zoology. At Smith she was president of the Outing Club and a member of the varsity crew. Following college, she worked at the Museum of Natural History in New York. She then drove out west to the Tetons in Wyoming to climb in the mountains there. At this time she was already an Adirondack 46er. In the Tetons, she met her husband and father of her five sons, Allan Cameron. She lived for several years in Redlands, California, where Allan was doing graduate work in his field of entomology. Judy and her family moved back to Jackson Hole in 1950 and lived there for the next 10 years, the last four on a cattle ranch. Having had enough of ranch life, her relationship with Allan came to an end, and she moved back to the Adirondacks, taking her five sons with her.
With the passing of her mother, Judy bought her own camp on Upper St. Regis, known as North Point. She built a house on the property and became a year-round resident on this lake with only summer visitors. Most of the camps have no road access, including hers. Until the lake froze solid, she walked or skied overland a mile-and-a-half to the nearest road. Form there it is 13 miles to Saranac Lake. She spent seven winters there alone. At this point, she began to travel every fall to a different wild place where she would hike for hundreds of miles. For 10 years, she went to the Himalayas in Nepal. She took 33 trips in 30 years, eventually hiking on every continent on Earth. She hiked across England, in Scandinavia and throughout the Alps. He last trip was to Antarctica.
In her mid 80s, she moved into Will Rogers where she spent 10 enjoyable years. At age 95 she suffered a couple of falls. The damages were repaired but left her weakened. In order to get the care she needed, she moved to a nursing facility in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, a block from the site of a home her son Alexander had built in the late 1980s, where her former daughter-in-law Connie now lives. Connie and her daughter Kristin took loving care of her in her final two years.
Judy is survived by a sister, Peggy Braden of New York City; a brother, James Peterson of Keene Valley; five sons: Duncan of Princeton, New Jersey, Alexander of St. Augustine, Florida, Peter of Riverton, Wyoming, Bruce of Bondurant, Wyoming, and James of Upper St. Regis Lake; 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. Judy was interred at St. John’s in the Wilderness Church in Paul Smiths in a private family ceremony.