June 8, 2022
Virginia Dyeedit Cameron Dyeedit
Virginia Carder Dye (1913-1982) Cameron Randolph Dye (1908-1994)

The Virginia and Cameron and Virginia Dye Fund was created in 1994 through a $500,000 bequest to the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia to establish a scholarship fund. Its purpose is to provide scholarships to deserving students graduating form Arlington public schools and serve as a memorial to Virginia and Cameron Dye.

Cameron Randolph Dye was born and raised in the Cherrydale area of Arlington, Virginia. His immediate family consisted of his mother, father, and sister. Cameron’s father was a DC police officer and his mother spent her lifetime as a loving wife and mother.  Cameron frequently reminisced about his childhood and the many individuals who worked with him at Old Dominion Bank, then First Virginia Bank. His childhood was a very happy one. He loved his parents deeply and respected them greatly. As a young boy he had a paper route and delivered newspapers daily. Additionally, he demonstrated at an early age that he would be a very industrious person by shoveling show, cutting grass and performing odd jobs for neighbors.

Cameron never had the opportunity nor the means to get a college education; in his days higher education did not have the priority that it does today. His belief and what he taught many of his young associates was that it wasn’t necessary to know everything in life, but it was important to know how to get the information. He had a knack of bringing out the very best in people and in his view, life itself and his contact with people was education enough for him.  He met his wife, Virginia Catherine Carder, as a result of her visiting Cherrydale United Methodist Church. Visitors were asked to sign cards with their names and on one of her Sunday visits, Cameron was the usher and collected the cards. He tried to call the various Carder families in the area but could not find the right one where Virginia lived. The following Sunday, Virginia again was a visit at the church and new cards were in the pews – in addition to signing the card, guests or visitors were asked to provide their name and addresses once Virginia completed the new card. Cameron called her, they dated, and within four months they were married. This little snapshot from Cameron’s life helps demonstrate his perseverance and ability to see through to the end in order to obtain a specific goal. These were lessons that he passed on to the many young people that worked with him through the years.

While Virginia and Cameron never had any children of their own, their circle of friends and relatives was quite extensive. In particular, the young people that came through the First Virginia Bank management training program and served at Cameron’s Fairfax Drive Branch soon became a part of his informal adopted family. More than 40 years prior to his death, Cameron survived cancer surgery. He lived and went to work every day with the aftermath of that operation but never let it slow him down. After his retirement from the bank in 1966, Cameron continued to visit the banking offices and his own Fairfax Drive office. He subsequently incurred other serious illnesses, but Cameron continued to work and serve his community.

Cameron lost his beloved wife of over 51 years, Virginia, in 1982. In the years that followed, his weekly routine included having dinner with two or more of his adopted family members at a time. generally, the young people that had worked for him at one time in the Fairfax Drive branch office. For many of these young people, he became a surrogate father as well as a trusted personal and financial advisor.  Serious illness struck Cameron once again and he died on June 30, 1994, in Arlington Hospital. A number of his friends and family members were with him in his last days. Almost to the end, Cameron retained his smile, impishness, sense of humor and friendly banter with friends, family, and the hospital staff.

Virginia and Cameron Dye served as surrogate parents for a number of young people who either had no parents or whose families lived out of the area. Several of the Dye’s friends and colleagues said this in remembrance of them:

“When my last parent- my mother- died, Mrs. Dye called me and said, ‘you will always have a mother and father as long as Cameron and I are alive.’”

“Mr. Dye read passages from the Bible every day. He prayed his special prayer every day and I know he would say the most important thing in life is love – love of life – love of people.”

“Mr. Dye was active in the Masons and his wife was active in the Eastern Star. He was also active in the Kena Temple as well as the Elks Lodge in Arlington #2188. These were further manifestations of his belief in community service.”

“In so many ways, Cameron Dye was defined by his relations with the people and the institution that was known as the First Virginia Bank.  I first met Mr. Dye when I was a teller at Fairfax Drive and in many ways that branch was his corner bar, his ’Cheers.’ His memories of the old days in Arlington and Cherrydale always centered on the workers and the customers and rarely on business deals. When he told a story of being robbed, it centered on the individuals that robbed him. When he told a story of selling a corner lot at Fairfax Drive and Glebe Road, it was the people, not the profit or the prices.”

“Cameron often talked proudly of how he was born, lived, and would die within a five-mile radius. He was very strong on staying in his community and doing things that were good for the community. His charitable donations tended to go to local institutions.”

“Cameron was always very appreciative of the many doctors, nurses, and bankers he met over the years, he regarded them as the most important businesspeople in his life. He often said, “your thoughts and actions make you what you are.” 

Perhaps the central theme and common lifeblood of Virginia and Cameron Dye’s remarkable lives was helping others. One might conclude that it was their way of living with and overcoming the significant health challenges and losses they encountered through their adult years. Establishing a large scholarship fund for students they would never meet should not overshadow the more significate – albeit non-financial – gifts they made as a part of their daily lives. The numerous acts of kindness, always without fanfare and frequently masked in order to avoid recognition that might somehow embarrass the recipient, were telling.

As you read this snapshot of Virginia and Cameron Dye’s lives and are warmed and amused by the parables of their friends and family, remember that they would have been embarrassed by the attention but fulfilled knowing that they were able to continue giving to others who wanted to help themselves. The Dye’s hoped that the recipients of this scholarship would perpetuate this giving cycle. Cameron Dye had a way of inspiring teamwork, meeting challenges, and instilling pride in performance. Hs mottos were “do the best you can, work hard, think good thoughts,” and “think and plan ahead, have a goal in life.” He was always kind to everyone and thoughtful to his neighbors, friends, and acquaintances.  “Mr. Dye believes in a good education, to strive for a successful future, for the individual and the community. He loved and honored his father and his mother and his wife and believed in a good family of togetherness for a good foundation in life.

“In my view, the recipients of this scholarship will have earned it so long as they keep with the wishes of Cameron Dye, namely:  “To have worked hard in studies and have determination and a goal in life. To have helped in community service like volunteer work in some field where it was needed and useful such as in a church or hospital, etc. The recipient will have honored his or her parents and have ben a team worker taking pride in performance with a willingness to help others.”  Establishing a scholarship fund was a simple process for Cameron Dye. He was able to define his wishes for the bequest in a few concise paragraphs. The Community Foundation will continue to manage the endowment for generations to come and maintain the continuity required to meet Dye’s wishes. 

If you would like to apply for this scholarship, you can learn more on the Virginia and Cameron Dye Scholarship page.

You can learn more about donating to scholarship and funds by clicking here.