“…be thou at peace…”

Yesterday, at midnight, my father The Rev. Dr. Richard P. Camp, Jr., took his last breath on earth. 

A few years ago I asked him the meaning of life. He said, “to know and serve God.” I responded, “say it in a different way.”

He said,

“life is about relationships – our relationship with God and with each other.”

My father was a prolific relationship builder. One way he kept in touch was through his newsletters. In the last few years, I wrote them with him, enduring the hours and sometimes days of edits and reedits. On May 22, 2018, we drafted his final letter. 

Friends,

“When our work is done, our course on earth is run, may it be said, “Well done” be thou at peace.”

My goal in life has been to build strong Christians. At West Point I used the term “Spiritual Muscle.” Every cadet is an athlete and can understand the need to be physically fit. 1 Timothy 4:8 says, “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” This has been the roadmap by which I’ve lived my life.

As the fierce waves of Parkinson’s and age wash against and over me, I’m reflective on my life and legacy. I don’t know what’s ahead – whether God gives me another day or another year. I’m tired, both physically and emotionally. I’ve gone from being focused on my health to focusing on Heaven.

If I could do it all over again…

I would exercise harder. I’ve made athletics a lifelong pursuit but there is always more in the tank. We can always do one more rep, one more yard, one more set. “You’ve been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but Im running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

I would take more time for family. Go to the games, help with the homework. Have the big conversations as well as the little ones. Sit down for family meals. Don’t let your work consume you – let your family know they are the priority. Pursue your spouse and your children every day. It’s the best investment you can make.

I would say “thank you” more often. Thank your family, your friends, your peers for their presence in your life. Thank God for your blessings and your hardships – both are necessary for character development. “…but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character and character, hope.” (Romans 5:4) 

I would work harder on my relationship with God. What does that look like? Take scripture seriously. Memorize it. Scripture brings us closer to God. It instructs us on how to live our best lives. Pray. The bible says to “pray without ceasing.” To me, that means you have a daily dialog with God. In the car, in the shower, at the dinner table, with your kids, with your spouse, on your knees or on a run. We were made for relationships. The most important is with the Creator and Sustainer of life. Memorize scripture, know what God wants and expects from you and for you. Place your fears and desires at His feet and feel His peace. Exercise your muscles of faith. Keep yourself spiritually fit.

“Pass on what you heard from me…When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain.” (2 Timothy 2) Continue to do your best for God.

“I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish…” (2 Timothy 4:7) I’ve invested in you, as you have in me. Thank you. Thank you for showing up again and again for our relationship. Remember me in your prayers, as I will remember you. I won’t say good-bye because I plan to see you all again in Heaven. Make sure you right your heart with God now. Don’t wait! 

Until we meet again, may the God of Hope fill you with all Joy and Peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with Hope by the Power of the Holy Spirit. 

Gratefully,

Dick

A Celebration of Life and Legacy service will be held at West Point in early Spring 2021. For more information please check back in the coming months at www.chaplaincamp.org.


The Rev. Dick Camp was born in Fair Lawn, NJ in 1936 to a Baptist minister. The eldest of 5, Dick excelled at sports and leadership. Captain of his high school football and track teams, he was widely recruited including Vince Lombardi at West Point. He followed his father to Wheaton College in Illinois. He attended Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, pastored several churches throughout New England, was the Dean of Students at the Seminary, leading to a 20+ year career as Chaplain at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Chaplain Camp retired in 1996 and became the Executive Director of A Christian Ministry in the National Parks. He retired in Sarasota, Florida. His legacy includes his wife of 62 years Virjean, his son Brad, his daughter Kristen, his daughter Katherine, 9 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, friends, family, and thousands of cadets who graced his home and life with joy and adventure. He has finished his race.

He has passed the baton. It is our turn to Run to Win.

Donations can be made to Chaplain Camp Christian Charities in support of the West Point Athletic Ministry.

Donations can be made to the Chaplain Camp Memorial Fund at WPAOG online at westpoinaog.org/giveonline, select “Annual Gifts” then select “Long Gray Line Fund”. Please indicate the gift is “in memory of Chaplain Camp.”

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Runner, hiker, dreamer, drinker. International model. Partner in a Public Relations firm. I model for pocket change. I run for a cure for Parkinson's Disease. Run to Win.

35 thoughts on ““…be thou at peace…”

  1. What a great servant of God and man! I’m sorry for your family’s loss, which is also our nation’s loss. But he’s now with his lord and savior and looking down on all of us.

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  2. Kathy;

    We’ve never met. However I do know Brad, Kris, your mom and dad. You did know my dad and I believe my mom, Jack & Dotty Ann Davis. Brad & I were classmates at WPES & J. I. O’Neill H.S..
    Please let your family know that you’re in my prayers for God’s comfort. What a blessing that your dad now has a new body!!

    Best Regards
    Pete Davis
    1810 Piñon Dr.
    Prescott, AZ
    86301

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  3. So sorry to hear, Kathy. I have tried a few times over the years to reconnect with your dad, but was never able to do so. He was a great guy whom I loved very much.
    Bill Jeffries, cl 68

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  4. Your dad is one of the giants of faith in my lifetime, his presence, spiritual and physical strength will always be an inspiration to all whose lives he reached in relationships.

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  5. What a great tribute to your dad! With his letter, it seems he did have the final word, on his life and to us. Dick was the epitome of what we should endeavor to be in this life, right down to the end. He lived his life to the full, wasting nothing, saving nothing!
    God’s richest blessings Kathy as you pick up the baton and carry on your dad’s legacy through his ministry! May you find His peace!

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  6. I remember his sermons on Trophy Point as a New Cadet at Beast Barracks. He often preached on or at least mentioned Psalms 121 – where will my help come from, it will come from the Lord who made heaven and earth. I carried that passage with me through West Point and on many deployments in the Middle East. Be thou at Peace – knowing your words comforted at least one cadet on his journey in uniform.

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  7. I am USMA class of 1987 and I remember your father so well. Went to chapel every Sunday. Wonderful man. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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  8. Love you friend, he is and will be proud of the legacy you leave in his honor. Thinking of you all during this hard time. ❤

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  9. My deepest sympathy to his wife and family.
    I have heard from my daughter, Amy, what a great
    man he was. Your family has been so caring and
    loving to Amy. May you find peace in all your
    memories. He is at peace with his Lord.

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  10. I have fond memories of Chaplain Camp during my time at USMA. His mentor ship and guidance helped me make a tough decision about my military career and ministry opportunities. He was a great man of God and I can’t wait to see him again walking the streets of gold.

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  11. Kathy,
    I’ve only known you for such a short time, but have followed your documentary of your fathers days.
    To have peace beyond understanding is indescribable- but he sure shared it well. May God carry you and give you such peace during this time.

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  12. Dick was my “spiritual muscle” coach. In our neighborhood Bible study we explored many books. Romans was to me my spiritual Everest. Romans 5:3-5 were made more meaningful to me by Dick and I have shared them with many patients and brothers and sisters in Christ. Dick was also my exemplar of faithful service. What a blessing to have known him. Peace

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  13. Wise words from a very wise man. We all should heed his advise in our daily lives – the world would be a better place.
    I pray for peace (that surpasses all understanding) for you and your family.

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  14. The light of a great man of God has been extinguished from our sight but the afterglow of his life and presence will remain in our hearts. May the peace that only the Holy Spirit can give cover your family and all that loved Chaplain Camp at this time of remembering his life.

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  15. Your Dad was an Inspiration to lot of people
    Especially with Parkinson’s. Beautiful and wise Tribute. You give us Strengt what lies in front of us.

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  16. Dick Camp was an amazing man, a wonderful influence in my life and the life of our family for many years. It was an honor to know him and call him our spiritual leader and good friend. Thank you for who you were and what you were and the difference you made in so many lives……well done, be thou at peace. Karen and Tony Hartle

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  17. Precious Kathy, your father will be wearing so many crowns for all the intense, meaningful relationships he brought about in our world! So many daughters could only hope to be tethered to their father’s heart as you were. Verjen you being a constant servant to the Lord and to Mr dick, you remain a monumentous inspiration to me! I look to the sky for my strength and may God’s reflection of his love surround and heal you! With love and respect Elizabeth.

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  18. Our love to the family. Thank you for sharing this wonderful man with us and so many. His teachings will live on.

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  19. Kathy, I am so very sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing and I know the sorrow that you and your family feel in your hearts at this loss. However I know that you rejoice that he now is without pain and strong again with our Heavenly Father. We all look forward to that day when we are once again reunited with those we love. Your Father made an impact on the lives of so many during his life time here on earth. We have been truly blessed to have known this man. He was a man of strong faith, courage, someone to look up to and respected. Your devotion to him Kathy was beyond admiration. We all know it was a true act of love. The love between your Mom and Dad were excellent role models for all of us who knew them. He was loved by many and will be missed by all who knew him. Be thou at peace Chaplain Camp.
    Love, Joyce and John LaSala

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  20. Thanks for letting me know Kathy! I made a post to the page but, I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the email. We have been keeping you all wrapped in prayer for some time. I know you have been expecting this day for a long time. Still, I know it can’t be easy, it never is! We will continue praying for strength in this time of transition. I can tell you this, your dad is celebrating with Jesus today in his new body free of our worldly problems! God be praised!

    I come to Florida frequently and, when the time is right, would love to visit your mom, if she’s up to it. I will call and ask. If I can be of service to you in some way, all you have to do is ask! God bless you and your family and your ministry! “May it be said, WELL DONE”, thou good and faithful servant!

    Chuck Benway chuck.benway@gmail.com 828.493.4225

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  21. Our prayers are with you, Kathy, and the entire Camp Family. Your fathers words and his great following of friends are an everlasting echo of a life well-lived. So proud, and blessed, to have shared time him and your family during my cadet days.

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  22. Kathy, your dad meant so much to so many. He has fought the good fight and won the race. My love and prayers to you and your mom. Thank you so much for keeping us up-to-date. Your dad was the epitome of a loving Godly man who shared his love of the Lord with all of us.

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  23. Today I am sad… Dick was such a wonderful man to get to know and I am so thankful that I also got to meet Virjean and you Kathy… I know that you will miss him greatly. May all your wonderful memories comfort you in those times. Please give your mother an extra special hug from me… Jess ps… blessings to you all…

    Sent from my iPad ♥️ stay safe! ♥️

    >

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  24. Kathy, what a joy for our family to know your family and come to love you. Your dad deserves the”Well done, thou good and faithful servant” as much or more than anyone else I know. I’m planning to see him again. Give your mom a hug from me. Know you are always welcome in Williamsburg and in Mt. Pleasant SC as soon as I’m there.

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  25. Farewell to a Great Soldier in the Army of the King of All. “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” – Judges 6:12 Bob M. USMA ’80

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  26. Dear Kathy,

    First, I hope you are doing well, and realize how much we loved your father!

    Next, thank you for sharing the last newsletter from your father! He was a great man, from whom I learned a lot during my time as a cadet and “P” back there at West Point.

    One sermon I will always remember…I think he was new to the Academy the same summer (1976) that I was a Plebe in Beast…I will never forget. He said something like the following paraphrase:

    ‘As you lay down to sleep in your bunks at night, let the days challenges settle back, and take a listen to sounds of life around you. Listen to the wind, God’s nature. Listen to the distant whistle from the trains running up and down the Hudson. Let those sounds remind you of your home and your country…the country that you have sworn to protect and defend. Take solace that your struggles here in Beast won’t last long, but your commitment to your nation and your God will last your entire life”

    Peace be with you, Kathy!

    Very respectfully, Jim Watson USMA Class of 1981

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