Cameron Leonard Starr, 77, died Tuesday, March 4th, 2014, at Sanford Heart Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD. Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 8, 2014 at Bittner Funeral Chapel, Mitchell, SD. Burial will be at Graceland Cemetery at Mitchell. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m., Friday with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. at the Bittner Funeral Chapel. Memorials may be directed to the National Fireworks Association in Cams honor (8224 NW Bradford Court, Kansas City, MO 64151). Arrangements are under the direction of Bittner Funeral Chapel.
Cam was born on July 11, 1936, in Mitchell, SD to Cameron and Lucille (Riley) Starr. He grew up on Lake Mitchell as an only child and graduated from Mitchell High School. After high school he attended Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell. Cam had a profound influence on the fireworks industry. In 1947 he started his first stand in a ditch next to Shopko at age 11. By his 19th birthday Cam was importing fireworks from China and owned 27 fireworks stands across the state of South Dakota. In 1955 Cam built Starr Fireworks of Mitchell, which was his first fireworks super store.
Cam joined the US Armed Forces in March of 1959 serving in Germany. Cam was Honorably Discharged in 1962. He then returned to the Mitchell area to continue in the fireworks industry and selling Salad Master Cookware where he achieved national sales recognitions.
During the 1980s Cam sold the South Dakota locations and moved to Fargo, and built five stores in North Dakota along with two fireworks factories. He operated these successful retail and wholesale fireworks super stores for many years. During this time, Cam was also a major supplier of display fireworks around the country, including Walt Disney World in Florida.
In 1992, Cam formed the National Fireworks Association which is currently the largest fireworks trade organization in the world. Cam served as President its first year of inception and was again recently appointed as the current President of the organization.
Cam then returned to Mitchell in 2002 and opened and operated All Star Fireworks on West Havens and in 2011 he opened a second All Star Fireworks location in Harrisburg, SD.
Cam also enjoyed chess and won many tournament titles including a 2nd place win in a North Dakota State Open Chess Tournament.
Cam is survived by his spouse, Jennifer Starr, Sioux Falls, SD; and daughter Tara (Asa) Wood, Hudson, OH; step children: Tiffany Hogen & Ben Hogen, Sioux Falls, SD; Mark (Rachel) Schmidt, Kindred, ND and Laura Schmidt, Vergas, MN; Grandchildren: Isabella Wood, Nathaniel Wood & Samantha Wood of Hudson, OH; Matthew Schmidt, Yokota Air Force Base at Toyko, Japan and Andrew Schmidt, Kindred, ND.
Cam was preceded in death by his parents and son, Cameron (CJ).