Despite Tragedy, AFA Saw Rapid Growth
Their new Company grew very rapidly until, at the height of their personal and professional success, the Cameron family’s world literally crashed in 1977 when a Thanksgiving plane flight turned deadly. Returning from a Colorado family ski trip, the plane slammed into a mountainside and two days went by before rescue teams found the passengers. C. B. died in the accident and the rest of his family, their friends and the pilot were severely injured.
After the death of his son, C.W. promoted William E. Durrett to President of AFA. Following C.W.’s death in 1991, Durrett became chairman of the board, a position held until 1998 when he moved to senior chairman and Bill Cameron became the chairman of the board. During the tenure of Durrett and CFO (and later president) John Rex, the Company built a strong financial base and grew rapidly.
C.B.’s son Bill started working in AFA following a two-year period at Liberty Bank where he began work after graduating from Dartmouth in 1982. In 1987, Bill led the recapitalization efforts for Commercial Bank that has subsequently become First Fidelity Bank, which is affiliated with AFA through the Cameron family’s ownership.
Source: Oklahoma: A Rich Heritage, American Historical Press, 2004.