Beloved merchant remembered for Christmas contributions
Christmas in Dahlonega wouldn't be what it is today without Camerone Malloy.
The beloved downtown merchant died Feb. 23 and her passing did not go unnoticed.
The former owner of Hummingbird Lane on the square, has been quiet since her retirement in 2006.
However, she is far from forgotten by those who frequented her shop, sold their art there, worked for her, worked with her to make Old Fashioned Christmas a magical experience, shared her love of animals or simply knew her as a friend—and she had many friends.
Her life will be celebrated by all her Dahlonega friends and acquaintances Saturday, March 10, 2-4 p.m. at Dahlonega Funeral Home.
Malloy was laid to rest in Naples, Fla. beside her husband, Patrick, “the love of her life,” said friend of 37 years Gayle Jones. But her sister, Sandra Kanistras, is traveling to Dahlonega from her home in Oviedo, Fla. to allow Malloy’s Dahlonega friends an opportunity to say goodbye and celebrate her life.
Being entombed in the family mausoleum of her husband was “exactly what she wanted,” said Kanistras. “She was very specific about everything. She wore the beige dress she got married in.”
But along with the instructions concerning her last wishes, Malloy had also written, “‘Dahlonega—debatable. More to come.’ I thought about it and decided to do the ‘more to come.’ She loved Dahlonega since the first day she moved there.”
Jones was likely one of the first people Malloy met. She was living in Frogtown near the river when Malloy became her neighbor in 1981.
“She was so gracious, and such a good friend and neighbor,” said Jones.
Later they worked together as members of the Merchants Association and Chamber of Commerce. Jones owned Jones & Co. and Malloy had a high-end art gallery, Hummingbird Lane.
“She did a lot for Dahlonega,” said Angelia Wilson, who opened Habersham Winery on the square not long after Malloy opened Hummingbird Lane. “She had the first real gallery, as I remember. She brought an elegance and aesthetic to the square.”
She also brought her special touch to Old Fashioned Christmas, working hard for the community, Wilson said.
“She always wanted things done right,” Jones recalls. “She had impeccable taste and such attention to detail.”
Those qualities and Malloy’s willingness to pitch in and do the hard work won her numerous honors and accolades. The UGA Small Business Development Center honored her for her success with Hummingbird Lane. The Lumpkin County Historical Society awarded her a Certificate of Appreciation for the work she did in preserving the historic building her shop occupied for 16 years. She was the Chamber’s Golden Pick for Tourism in 2002. The following year Malloy was one of The Dahlonega Nugget’s Magnificent 7. In 2004 the City of Dahlonega honored her for her outstanding service to Old Fashioned Christmas.
Malloy and Jones co-chaired the Old Fashioned Christmas effort for at least 10 years, Jones said.
One of her fondest memories is the year Malloy sponsored live reindeer to pull Santa’s sleigh during the Old Fashioned Christmas parade. The deer were placed in a corral near Hummingbird Lane several days before the parade so people could visit “Santa’s reindeer.”
“Cam couldn’t stay away from the pen,” Jones said. “She would take them carrots and pet on them. It was a dream come true for her.”
Malloy loved all animals.
“Any animal that had a heartbeat,” said Pam Wright, who was Malloy’s caregiver during the last four years of her life as she fought the cancer that eventually took her at the age of 77. “She had eight dogs at one time, and she didn’t buy any of them. They all came to her.”
Wright helped feed the birds Malloy loved daily.
“She knew all their names and habits. And she never shooed a squirrel off,” she said.
A love of animals is a bond Malloy shared with Deni Cobb, who worked for Malloy at Hummingbird Lane for 14 years.
Other than sharing a love of animals, Cobb said, “We were absolutely the odd couple. Cam was sophisticated, cosmopolitan, genteel … and then there’s me.”
Cobb is more earthy, a natural hoof care practitioner, caring for “barefoot” horses—those horses not fitted with shoes.
But, said Jones, for Malloy “it didn’t matter what the cover of the book looked like. Cam was non-judgmental. She had a big heart for people. She was a real Southern lady. Regardless of who she met, what they looked like, what they wore, she made you feel like she loved you from the minute you met her.”
Dee Deveraux, one of Malloy’s artist contributors to the gallery, agrees.
“She always had compassion for all—two-legged, four-legged or feathered,” she said. “That was her best quality.”
Deveraux had never let anyone sell her stationary and notecards with nature photos before she met Malloy. Living in Alpharetta at the time the two met in the late 1980s, and Deveraux ended up living in a cottage on Malloy’s river property . The two became life-long friends.
“She was always bringing strays home and I sometimes wonder if I wasn’t one of them,” she said. “She was a great business woman, a great human and down to earth. No matter what we were doing she had a good time—cleaning out a shed or walking the river.”
Compassionate and down to earth were qualities exemplified in Cobb’s most lasting memory of Malloy. Malloy was fascinated by “wolf dogs,” Cobb said. “I had an acquaintance who had one and she lived near me. One night on the way home I saw this heap of black fur on the side of the road and I knew what it was.”
Cobb called the owner, but “she couldn’t deal with it, so I called Cam. Cam came and we put him in the trunk of her Lincoln and buried him with honors at Cam’s house,” she said.
Malloy herself at one time had two wolf hybrids, given to her by someone who could no longer care for them. She built dens for them in her back yard.
Cobb and Malloy kept in touch after she retired and sold Hummingbird Lane in 2006.
“Cam stayed good friends with all her friends—even the stewardesses she knew back in the ‘60s,” Cobb said.
Malloy served as a stewardess and supervisor for United Air Lines. That’s how she met her husband, Patrick, a pilot with United.
“Every morning at the kitchen table she would tell me the ‘flight plan’ for the day,” Wright said. Though she only cared for Malloy for four years, Wright had known her for more than 30 years as a friend of her in-laws who lived nearby.
“Just taking care of her was a joy. It was not a hard thing to do. It was a pleasure. She was one special human being,” she said.
“There’s not enough words to say what a good lady she was,” Jones said.
“She was always thoughtful, considerate, kind, generous …” Cobb said.
“There’s not a lady I respect more. She will be missed,” Deveraux said.
Friends can gather to share memories of Malloy Saturday, March 10, 2-4 p.m. at Dahlonega Funeral Home.