Cameron Poole, biochemistry and molecular biology major and member of the Kresge community, died on Jan. 8. Born on June 15, 1998, he was 20 years old.
His family remembers him as an active and enthusiastic young man. He spent many of his favorite days at his family’s Kushog Lake cottage in Ontario, Canada, where he enjoyed water-skiing, swimming long distances and boating with his father, Duncan Poole. He was equally limber on land.
“Young Cameron had been known for the odd spectacular wipeout on his skateboard,” his father said in an email.
As a teenager, Poole immersed himself in literature, often writing to close family members about his introspections. His emails had a distinctly Victorian refrain.
“I always find satisfaction in writing and reading,” he once wrote to his uncle, Brian Poole. “I find it to be such a unique phenomenon: to be able to write and never run out of words, or to be able to read and never finish.”
In 2016, Poole graduated from Leigh High School in San Jose, California. An oboist of six years, he charmed audiences with his lively solos as a principal in the wind ensemble. He also played in the California Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
“He was a fantastic, fantastic musician,” said Alexander Christensen, director of the Leigh High band program. “He was one of those high school musicians who really knew his instrument well.”
The group toured across Texas in Poole’s senior year, performing at destinations like the Alamo, the Bandera Rodeo and the Riverwalk in San Antonio.
At UC Santa Cruz, Poole maintained an eclectic set of interests. In line with his proclivity for meditation and Buddhism, he was a founding member of a tea club and practiced the Chinese gongfu brewing ceremony.
“Brewing in this style requires much practice, and I find that working on that skill, and focusing on the act of brewing tea, brings me peace,” Poole once said to his father.
These were not trivial pursuits. Throughout his life, Poole struggled with bipolar disorder and read about the lives and times of others with the condition. In emails to his uncle, Poole emphasized the humanizing quality of these biographies.
“Our emotions hit astronomical heights and lows with no input, seemingly by random chance,” Poole wrote. “When those with bipolar disorder start writing, those experiences and that essence get put into their work, and a little bit of their soul is left on the page.”
Poole was preceded in death by his mother, Denise, who died in November 2017. He is survived by his father, Duncan; his brother, David and many loving extended family members.
Correction: In an earlier version of the article, Cameron Poole’s birthday was misstated. He was born on June 15, 1998.