Computer programmer and art collector John Camp dies at 77

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John Thomas Camp, a computer programmer for the US National Institutes of Health and later for the telecommunications company MCI in the late 1960s and 1970s and whose love for abstract art led to a side business in as an art dealer, died July 12, 2022, at a hospital in Arlington, Virginia, from complications associated with prostate cancer. He was 77 years old.

Around the year 2000, shortly after the death of his mother, Frances Camp, John Camp established the Frances Camp Foundation in honor of his mother’s life to provide financial support to elementary schools in Latin America to to help children in need, according to his longtime friend. David Rohr.

An article on John Camp’s life prepared by longtime friends Clyde Wildes and Jennifer Fajman states that Camp was born in Jonesboro, Georgia, and raised by his parents, John Thomas Camp Sr. and Frances Reeves Camp .

Before graduating from Jonesboro High School in 1962, Camp was a member of the Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout, the article states. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1967 with a major in mathematics.

“Throughout his life, John loved football and traveled everywhere to attend college and professional games,” Wildes and Fajman’s article said.

He says he started working in 1967 at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, where he provided support for NIH computer systems, including an IBM product known as CPS, a language version of programming known as PL/1, according to the article. He says he became active with an IBM user group known as SHARE and continued his association with the group for 24 years from 1969 to 1993.

Rohr said he believes Camp left the NIH in the 1970s to work for a short time at IBM before joining the staff of MCI, which at the time was the nation’s second-largest telecommunications company. after AT&T.

“In 1973, John met the love of his life, Reuben Romero,” according to Wildes and Fajman’s article. “John and Reuben bought a house on Youngs Cliff Road in Sterling, Va., on the Potomac River, with their friend Gary Henry,” the article continues. “John, Reuben and Henry enjoyed entertaining their friends at Broad Run Farms, as the neighborhood was called.”

The article states that Camp enjoyed collecting what is sometimes called optical illusion or op art, which others describe as abstract art, particularly works by the renowned French artist international artist Victor Vasarely and Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.

“He had several works by Vasarely on the walls of the Broad Run Farms house,” the article said.

Rohr said that in the mid-1990s, after his partner Romero died of AIDS-related complications in 1991, Camp took up residence in New York City, where he established an art dealership. Rohr and others who knew Camp said Camp struggled with depression after Romero’s death.

It was in New York in the mid-1990s that Camp met Andy Silva “and fell in love with him,” the article states. He says Camp moved soon after to Norfolk, Va., in 1996 to be with Silva.

DC gay activist Rick Rosendall, who has said he has been friends with Camp since 1980, has called Camp a generous supporter of LGBTQ rights causes, among other things, through fundraising events he has organized. his home. “He was a kind and generous person,” Rosendall said.

Although raised as a Southern Baptist, the article says Camp became an Episcopalian and a “very active member” of an Episcopal church in Norfolk. It says Camp moved to Arlington, Va., in March 2020 after his partner Silva passed away and became an active member of the Washington National Cathedral in May 2020.

In late 2020, the article states that Camp was diagnosed with mild prostate cancer and elected to undergo radiation therapy in March 2021. It states that in June 2021, “he presented with symptoms associated with a radiation leak from his March treatments which left him with extensive damage to his internal organs.

The article adds: “The last 9 months of his life faced significant physical challenges with frequent hospitalizations followed by stays in an assisted living facility.”

Camp died July 12 of this year at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

His ashes were interred in the Garth Memorial Gardens of the Washington National Cathedral during a memorial service for him on August 23, 2022, his 78th birthday.

He is survived by his cousins ​​Carolyn Sirkin of Ashville, NC; Tim Reeves of South Royalton, Vermont; and Sara Donna of Lyndonville, Vermont; and many friends, including Clyde Wildes of Palm Springs, California; Jennifer and Roger Fajman of Silver Spring, Maryland, David Rohr of Cathedral City, California; Carolyn Moneymaker of Norfolk, Virginia; and Rick Rosendall of Washington, D.C.

The article says donations in John Camp’s name can be made to the Washington National Cathedral “or to a charity of your choice.”

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