Obituary of Caliste Joseph Cambre, Jr.
West Columbia – Caliste Joseph “C.J.” Cambre, Jr. passed away peacefully with his family by his bedside on October 20, 2021. Born in New Orleans in 1944, he was the son of the late Caliste Joseph Cambre, Sr. and Rosemary Lorraine Naquin. C.J. grew up in Metairie, LA, attended De La Salle High School in New Orleans and the University of New Orleans before earning a Master of Library and Information Science degree at LSU in 1968.
Prior to his graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1967 and was commissioned as an officer after completing the Officers Candidate course at Marine Corps School, Quantico, VA. C.J. served his country in Vietnam as an Infantry Platoon Commander of Hotel Company, 1st Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, and a Motor Transport Platoon Commander for the 3rd Marines. He was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, Naval Commendation Medal, Naval Achievement Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 3 stars, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, and the Presidential Unit Citation. Upon returning to the US, he served as the S2 Intelligence Officer for the 3rd Marines at Camp Lejeune, NC.
Released from active duty at the end of 1970, C.J. moved to Columbia and began work with the University of South Carolina Libraries in February of 1971. During his 38+ years career he served in numerous administrative capacities, focused primarily on budget, personnel, and facilities, until he retired in 2009 as University Libraries Director of Administrative Services.
Much of his time in facilities management was spent coordinating library building projects such as the expansion of the Undergraduate Library into the Thomas Cooper Library which included the consolidation of five campus libraries, the construction of the Library Annex and serving as a building consultant to regional campus libraries. In addition he was a member of numerous University and Library Committees, and as Head of Circulation, C.J. also participated in the installation of the first automated circulation system in the United States.
C.J. was a longtime parishioner of St. Joseph's Catholic Church and was proud to be a Kentucky Colonel. He enjoyed sports of all kinds, played on intramural baseball and bowling teams, and was a great Gamecock supporter. He was also a lifelong tennis player and enjoyed traveling around the state making new friends and playing in tournaments.
Besides sports, CJ’s greatest passion was cooking Cajun style and his greatest delight was cooking for his friends. Seafood of all kinds, andouille sausage, all kinds of gumbo, crawfish dishes and BBQ were his specialties. He also enjoyed attending Mardi Gras and the Irish/Italian parades from a young age and even rode in several parades throwing beads and food to the crowds.
C.J. is survived by his loving wife of 28 years, Janet Watson Cambre; sons, Eric Cambre (Rachel) of Lexington, SC, Michael Cambre (Amra) of the Bronx, NY; grandchildren, Hannah Rose, Dylan Michael, Emily Grace, and Vibol Joseph Cambre; sister, Rosemary Aquinas Connolly (John) of Los Angeles, CA, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. In addition to his parents, C.J. was predeceased by his two sisters, Cathey Ann Brunett and Deadra Marie Weidner.
C.J. loved and was committed to his faith, his family and his friends and firmly believed that everything you do, you do to the very best of your ability but as any good Cajun from New Orleans knows, you should always remember to - "Laissez les bon temps roulez!"
The family would like to give special thanks to Heart of Hospice and all the staff of The Broad Unit in Still Hopes Skilled Nursing, especially nurses, Marie and Nickala, for their excellent and compassionate care. And a special thank you to Tacey Gohean with deepest gratitude for her support and kindness.
A memorial service with United States Marine Corps honors for C.J. Cambre, Jr., will be held at 12:00 PM (EST), Saturday, November 6, 2021 at the Lakeside Gazebo at Woodridge Memorial Park, 138 Corley Mill Road, Lexington, SC 29072. Father William Frei of St. Joseph Catholic Church will officiate. Woodridge Funeral Home of Lexington is assisting the family with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Still Hopes Resident Assistance Fund, 1 Still Hopes Drive, West Columbia, SC 29169 or to the University of South Carolina, Thomas Cooper Library Fund, 1322 Greene St, Columbia, SC 29208.
C.J.'s funeral service will be webcast for those unable to attend his service in person. Please click this link to view the broadcast of the funeral service [on or after 12:00 PM (EST), Saturday, November 6, 2021.]