IRVINE, CA – Tykye Gus Camaras, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away on November 25 at the age of 90, surrounded by family. Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, he was a proud alumnus of Doan College and the University of Nebraska and earned his MBA at New York University.
Tykye was a lifelong patriot who served as a sergeant in the United States Army during the Korean War, earning both a Korean Service Medal with one bronze star and a United Nations Service Medal.
He met and married the love of his life, Elaine Gigounas, in 1968. The two shared their Greek heritage and Orthodox faith, and a commitment to family. They had two children, Elena and Dean. After working as a salesman for Cain Steel Company, Tykye founded Cam Steel Company in 1971. He grew the business that he had started in a spare bedroom of his home, guided by a philosophy of providing quality products, good pricing, and making customer relationships a priority. Joined by his son, Dean, in 1995, the two continued working closely as partners until his death.
Tykye contributed generously to the church he loved dearly. When Tykye and Elaine were parishioners at St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church in Anaheim, Tykye served on the Building Fund Committee and Tykye and Elaine were founding members of St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine. Tykye served on both the church’s Parish Council and Foundation Board for many years. He and Elaine were members of Leadership 100, an organization that endows the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in its support of Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Tykye was also an ardent supporter of the St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
In 1994 he received the Medal of St. Paul from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. In 1995, he was honored by the Patriarch of Constantinople as an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the highest honor for a layperson in the Greek Orthodox Church. It is bestowed on a select few for their service and or contributions to the Church and for their leadership in the Orthodox Christian community. He was the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2006, as a descendant of immigrants, for accomplishments in his field and service to the United States.
Tykye was predeceased by his sisters Tula Kasnestis and Sophia Mitchell. He is survived by Elaine, his wife of 51 years, his daughter Elena Abramson (Joey), his son Dean (Nicole), and his grandson Tyke. He is also survived by his sister Helen Siganos, his sister-in-law Ann Gigounas, his brother-in-law James Mitchell, and many nieces and nephews.
Tykye will be remembered for his faith, his integrity, and his devotion to his family. His robust style and resounding laugh were matched by his lifelong work ethic and his lively interest in news and human interest stories. He was a dynamic conversationalist who valued eye contact and honesty. He loved to tell jokes and he enjoyed good cigar. He stood firmly for his beliefs and supported his loved ones with ferocity and a kind heart. Tykye was commanding without losing his sense of wonder. He will be deeply missed.
The Trisagion Service was held on Monday, December 2 at Saint Paul Greek Orthodox Church of Irvine. His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos presided at the Funeral Service on December 3 and the interment with military honors was private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider a donation in Tykye’s memory to Saint Paul Greek Orthodox Church, memo: “Benevolent Fund”.