A filmmaker. A music manager. An adventurer. A husband. A father. Alumnus Matthew Shane Cameron was many things to many people. Most importantly, however, he was this: a good, Godly man. Cameron passed away on November 14, 2017, after a nine-month battle with adenocarcinoma of the lung cancer, but not before impacting countless lives during his 47 years as a “human of earth” — a phrase he used often. His courageous battle with cancer brought the Christendom alumni community together in a special way, as they drew that much closer to the “Who” behind Matthew Cameron: Jesus Christ.
This story was originally published in Christendom’s Instaurare Magazine. Read the latest issue today!
Cameron lived no ordinary life. In fact, few things terrified him more than the idea of such a thing. At one point, the Kokomo, Indiana, native feared that going to a small school in the Shenandoah Valley would doom him to just that. Little did he know beforehand the types of friendships he would form at Christendom, in particular with Jesus. While he had had his share of rough patches in his relationship with Him (like anyone), Cameron truly came into his own at Christendom, and even made the total consecration to Jesus through Mary while at the college.
The friendships Cameron made at Christendom would stay with him for the rest of his life. He loved people easily, and his positivity and his generosity were infectious, as was his spirit of adventure. After graduation in 1993, he joined classmate Christopher Foley and others on trips across the United States, Europe, and even through Israel, Greece, Turkey, and Egypt. These years were known as the “Tumbleweed” years by Cameron and others, due to the name of their group — the “Tumbleweeds.”
Cameron’s life was marked by an incredible love for others, but none more so than for his beloved wife, Tatiana “Tajci,” an award-winning Croatian pop star that he met in the late ‘90s, and for his three sons. He gave everything to his family, devoting his career to producing Tatiana’s concerts across the country and caring for his sons. While his family’s journeys would take him around the world, Cameron never stopped keeping track of his friends and their careers, encouraging them and congratulating them whenever he could.
His cancer diagnosis in February 2017 didn’t stop Cameron. Rather, it emboldened him to show his love to others even more, a point immortalized by his brother, Father of Mercy Ben Cameron, in his funeral Mass homily.
“He offered his suffering up for many other people, but especially for his beloved wife and for his sons,” said Fr. Ben. “He was amazed at how many people were praying for him, but he encouraged them that they pray also for other people besides him — others who didn’t have the spiritual support that he had.”
Fr. Ben gave his brother the sacrament of the anointing of the sick twice: on the day he learned that he had cancer, and on his last full day as a “human of earth.”
Christendom alumni from across the United States made their way to Franklin, Tennessee, for the celebration of Cameron’s life, and were reminded of how strong the connections formed at Christendom remain after graduation. Despite a quarter of a century separation from their graduation year, all of the alumni present greeted each other like it was yesterday. This was the culture that Cameron loved and was supported by during his nine-month battle with cancer — it only seemed fitting that he would gift these people with the joys of reunion after his passing.
“I’ve told a countless number of people over the past twenty-five years that to this day some of my closest friends are those I met within my first few days at Christendom,” says Michelle Bodoh, a classmate of Cameron’s who attended the funeral and wake. “I soon realized that these friendships encompassed a deeper level of friendship than I had known in the past. These friends cared about me as a whole person, and that included caring about my soul. When you care about someone’s soul you always want the ultimate good for that person and you’re willing to make sacrifices to help one another. Matt Cameron was one of those friends. Even though we have all moved on in different directions, sometimes not seeing one another for years on end, our bonds of friendship remain. And there has been no greater reunion of friends than the one Matt called us to upon his death.”
After his passing, a friend remarked that they hoped that Cameron was resting peacefully. Tatiana, seeing that on Facebook, remarked, “Resting peacefully? Hm. More like soaring fearlessly.”
Fr. Ben echoed that point in his final remarks in his homily, calling on all to be inspired by Cameron, and to look to the “Who” behind him: Jesus.
“When you think of Matthew Shane Cameron, when you think of the goodness and beauty you experienced with him and through him, remember the Divine Artist Jesus Christ, that Jesus fashioned that work of art. And remember that Jesus wants to work His art in you, in order to make all of us into beautiful works of art that will last for all eternity.”
Cameron lived his life to the fullest, and truly gave himself fully to others. Such a life united the Christendom community in an indelible way. May it continue to inspire it for generations to come.