Dietrich H. Kamm Obituary – February 14, 2017
Dietrich Hellmuth Kamm (82) of Oakland passed to a new life on February 14 surrounded by his loving family. Dietrich (Dee, Opa, Dieter) was pre-deceased by his parents, Dr. Wunibald and Hildegard Kamm and his grandson Dieter, who left this world on Opa’s birthday January 10, 2017.
Dietrich was born in Stuttgart, Germany on January 10, 1935, and lived his early years there during WWII. His father, a scientist, was taken to the USA in 1945 (and was subsequently inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn Michigan in 2009 for his contributions to the world of automotive engineering). The family followed to the US in 1947, where they resided at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Dee attended Dayton University and continued graduate studies at the Latin American Institute in NYC where he met his beloved Nancy Pambianchi. After graduation Dee was employed by the Battelle Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, and returned to the US to serve in the United States Army. Dietrich and Nancy married on July 5, 1958, and upon honorable discharge from the US Army they moved to Stuttgart, Germany, where Dietrich was employed by Daimler Benz. Dietrich was subsequently transferred to South Bend, IN for employment with Studebaker/Mercedes Benz. They then moved to San Francisco where Dietrich served as district manager, which led to a transfer to Fort Lee, NJ and eventually Montvale, NJ as the marketing manager for Mercedes Benz of NA.
Their life together gave Dee and Nancy four wonderful children, each of whom in their grown years found just as wonderful spouses (the “Outlaws”). Daughter Deanna, with Bill Dugan, gave the world Lillian, Allyson and Jameson. Son Dieter with Kimberly, likewise gave the world Dieter, Kayla, Lauren and Ryan. Son Erich with Jill gave the world Kelsey and Colin. Son Christopher with Karin gave the world Kevin, Aiden and Owen.
Dee is also survived by many loving siblings and family members located throughout Europe and the United States. He had many friends throughout his astonishing life. Many of his generation are now gone but as the saying goes “hopefully we will see each other again on the other side.”
Dee’s life in Oakland was filled with community service including recreation and travel soccer, Oakland Board of Adjustment, and Republican Club. He was instrumental in building the Oakland Rec soccer program, the Well and Truman fields, and in developing the Oakland horse ordinance. He loved tending to his horses at home along with his daughter. Memorial Day parades saw him leading a horse, or following a horse with shovel and pail! He enjoyed nurturing his garden and growing beautiful tomatoes and massive rhubarb, which he used to make his famous “Opa Jam.” His favorite hobby was finding fallen trees, loading the wood into his ’69 GMC pickup, chopping the wood, and proudly observing his stacked wood piles in the “lower forty”. With his stubborn German patience, he could fix any machine. He was always willing to lend a hand to anyone who asked for help. Dietrich was a calm, positive force of goodness in our world and his love and kindness touched many lives. Last of all, he was a proud, unapologetic, flag-waving American citizen.
The family will be receiving friends from 2:00-6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 18 at the Oakland Memorial Home, 330 Ramapo Valley Road Oakland, New Jersey 07436. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, February 19 at 1:00 at Ponds Reformed Church, 341 Ramapo Valley Road in Oakland. Immediately following, the family invites you to join in a Celebration of his Life from 2:00-6:00 at the Knights of Columbus, 7 Court House Place, also in Oakland. All who knew and loved Dietrich are welcome to attend any or all of the events to laugh, re-connect with one another and remember the life of this selfless, caring man, husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, coach, and mentor.
Dee’s family would like to express their sincere gratitude to Dr. Sharma and her staff and also to the nurses and PCAs on the third floor at Valley Hospital who embraced him as much more than merely a patient. With the caring of these people, Dietrich was able to have a dignified and peaceful transition.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in memory of Dietrich to the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn Michigan http://www.automotivehalloffame.org/about-ahf/donate-to-the-automotive-hall-of-fame or the Oakland First Aid Squad www.oakland-nj.org/ambulance-first-aid-squad .