• Obituaries

Obituary for Keith Edwin (Tobin) Cameron - Mayor of Portland from 1975-1976


Keith Edwin (Tobin) Cameron, 83, passed away peacefully at Heritage Hospice of Marietta, Georgia on June 29, 2022. He was surrounded by his family and his faithful caregiver. Keith’s parents Iola (Tobin) Cameron and Edwin as well as his sister Maureen Albright preceded him in death. Keith was born on February 28, 1939 in Emipire, Michigan. His family at the time of his birth, lived on South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan. His family had a long lineage on the island having settled there in 1856 from Bavaria, Germany. Keith’s Great Grandfather John Tobin captained the Coast Guard on South Manitou until he was drafted in WWII. Keith’s Grandfather, John King Tobin was the last lighthouse keeper on the island. Keith’s Grandmother Lottie Tobin was the last postmistress on the island. Keith’s mother Iola Tobin Cameron was the last schoolhouse teacher. Keith’s father, Edwin Carl Tobin also served in the Coast Guard as a sailor and lost his life in a car accident shortly before Keith was born. Keith’s family left South Manitou shortly after the decommissioning of the island from private to State property. They lived in Big Rapids, Michigan. Keith was an avid hunter and fisherman. He joined the military at age 16 (actually lied about his age to join). He was being groomed to become a sniper as he was an expert marksman. By the time he was 17, he was already a Sargent in the National Guard. Keith graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1956 and he set his sights on becoming a General in the Army. Keith was attending Ferris State University while pursuing his military career when he contracted Polio at the age of 18. He was one of the first cases of Polio in the state of Michigan right as the Salk Polio vaccine became available. He was initially paralyzed from the neck down but regained movement in his arms and eventually his legs but was not able to walk without the use of a cane. That ended his military career and although he could no longer be considered for combat, he continued to serve in the National Guard until he was honorably discharged in 1961. Keith went on to graduate from Ferris State University and gained employment as an engineer/cost estimator with Tranter Incorporated located in East Lansing, MI. He married Marlene Boyden (later divorced) and they settled in Portland, Michigan. They had three children Scott, Susie, and John. Keith was very active in city politics. He served in several positions within the city council and in the JayCees from the early 1960’s through late 70’s. Keith was President of the Jaycees for 4 years and became Mayor of Portland from 1975-1976. Keith and his family moved to Iowa Park, Tx in July 1977 when Tranter Inc transferred his position to their Texas location. Keith retired at age 62 spent his golden years playing lots of golf, shuffleboard, fishing, gambling, and boating. Keith loved to work in the yard and grew beautiful flowers. Keith relocated to Dunwoody, Ga in March 2020 to be closer to his family and grandchildren. He lived with his daughter Susie and her husband Patrick and although his health was failing, he always found a way to make everyone laugh. He loved going on adventures and enjoying a bubble up (cocktails) with family and friends. Keith is survived by his three children Scott (Wichita Falls, TX), Susie (Patrick) Lane of Dunwoody, GA, John (Dana) of Richmond Hill, Ga. Grandchildren Anna (Chase) Anderson of Wichita Falls, Emily of Nashville, TN, Holly of Amelia Island, Fl, Melanie of Dunwoody, GA, Connor of Atlanta, GA, Caroline of Richmond Hill, GA and two great grandchildren Robert Hunter and Elliana Chase both of Wichita Falls, TX. Keith’s celebration of life with take place on South Manitou Island, MI where he will be laid to rest next to his father and uncle later this fall. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire, Michigan.


Editor’s note:

Mr. Cameron’s daughter Susie recently told the Beacon, “Dad loved his service in Portland…we have so many great memories there. We were just there a year ago June…met with the city manager at city hall and he posted dads picture with him ..it was amazing and dad was so happy.”



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