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Home Obituaries Calvin Eller Bream
Calvin Eller Bream

Camarillo, CA

December 11, 1914 - July 9, 2017

Cal was born on December 11, 1914, in a small ranch house near Azusa, California.  He was the son of Peter and Cora Bream, who had come west to marry and buy 10 acres in order to learn to grow orange trees.  The oldest of three boys, Cal was an excellent student, worked hard on the family farm, played clarinet in the school band, and became a champion tennis player.  His father passed away from a farming accident when Cal was only16, so he had to manage the farm while earning the excellent grades that allowed him to attend UCLA in 1935.  (He was the first in his family to go to college).  Cal majored in subtropical horticulture, and was hired by the Agriculture Department at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, where he worked his entire career.  He met his dear wife Shirley at the Chamber, and they were married in 1940. He volunteered during World War II and became a sergeant in the Army Air Corps (precursor to the modern Air Force).  Stationed in Hawaii, he was scheduled to sail for Japan when the war mercifully ended. He returned to the Chamber and was promoted to Assistant General Manager, attending night school to learn to develop numerous personnel policies for the Chamber. 

Cal was a devoted member of the Whittier Methodist Church where he served on many committees and chaired several fundraising projects.  He took Bible classes, attended weekly prayer meetings, and knew many prominent professors at the seminary in Claremont.  Throughout his life he read and studied and sought out people to further his religious understanding. Late in life he began to understand that deep spirituality superseded being simply religious.

In retirement, Cal and Shirley bought a 2-acre property in La Habra Heights where he could devote himself to his other passion, raising sub-tropical fruit trees.  At one time, he had 11 varieties of cherimoyas, plus persimmons, macadamias, and numerous other exotic trees.  He was also very proud of his rose garden.  He knew personally both Mr. Hass (who developed the avocado variety we all love for our guacamole) and Mr. Ecke (who developed the poinsettia that we all enjoy at Christmas). Later, Cal and Shirley moved to Running Springs, where they created the rose garden at the Lake Arrowhead Hospital. Eventually they moved to Santa Barbara; then on to Corvallis, Oregon, where Shirley passed away in 2009; and Cal came to Camarillo in January, 2014, where he proudly joined CUMC at the tender age of 99.

He would proudly describe himself as a health nut:  until recently, he exercised 1 ½ hours each day, and ate his kale and an assortment of fruit before breakfast.  He avoided sugar and red meat, and 102 ½ amazingly strong years are the result.  He possessed a prodigious memory, and regaled us all with fascinating stories from his truly adventurous life.

Cal was an avid backpacker throughout his entire life. His passion was planning backpacking trips into his beloved High Sierras, and each year the family vacation was to hike over Kearsarge Pass, or climb to the stunning Rae Lakes, or camp under the stars at his very favorite spot--Lake Ediza--beneath the stunning Minaret Peaks.

After a 6-month illness that grounded him for the first time in his life, Cal passed away peacefully on July 9, 2017.  He is survived by his three children, four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild (and another on the way).

He touched so many lives with his gentle soul and loving presence. He remains a truly accomplished and remarkable soul that has left a profound chasm in all of our lives.

Cal’s memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday  August 5 at Camarillo United Methodist Church, 291 Anacapa Dr., Camarillo.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Camarillo United Methodist Church Endowment Fund.



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