Cameron Starr


July 11, 1936 - March 4, 2014


Cameron Leonard Starr was born on July 11, 1936, in Mitchell, SD to Cameron and Lucille (Riley) Starr. He grew up on Lake Mitchell as an only child and graduated from Mitchell High School.  After high school he attended Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell.  Cam had a profound influence on the fireworks industry.  In 1947 he started his first stand in a ditch next to Shopko at age 11.  By his 19th birthday Cam was importing fireworks from China and owned 27 fireworks stands across the state of South Dakota.  In 1955 Cam built Starr Fireworks of Mitchell, which was his first fireworks super store. 

Cam joined the US Armed Forces in March of 1959 serving in Germany.  Cam was Honorably Discharged in 1962.  He then returned to the Mitchell area to continue in the fireworks industry and selling Salad Master Cookware where he achieved national sale’s recognitions.

During the 1980’s Cam sold the South Dakota locations and moved to Fargo, and built five stores in North Dakota along with two fireworks factories.  He operated these successful retail and wholesale fireworks super stores for many years.   During this time, Cam was also a major supplier of display fireworks around the country, including Walt Disney World in Florida. 

In 1992, Cam formed the National Fireworks Association which is currently the largest fireworks trade organization in the world.  Cam served as President its first year of inception and was again recently appointed as the current President of the organization.  

Cam then returned to Mitchell in 2002 and opened and operated All Star Fireworks on West Havens and in 2011 he opened a second All Star Fireworks location in Harrisburg, SD. 

Cam also enjoyed chess and won many tournament titles including a 2nd place win in a North Dakota State Open Chess Tournament.

Cam is survived by his spouse, Jennifer Starr, Sioux Falls, SD; and daughter, Tara (Asa) Wood, Hudson, OH; step children: Tiffany Hogen and Ben Hogen, Sioux Falls, SD; Mark (Rachel) Schmidt, Kindred, ND and Laura Schmidt, Vergas, MN; grandchildren: Isabella Wood, Nathaniel Wood and Samantha Wood of Hudson, OH; Matthew Schmidt, Yokota Air Force Base at Toyko, Japan and Andrew Schmidt, Kindred, ND.

Cam was preceded in death by his parents and son, Cameron (CJ).


Friday, March 7, 2014
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
Prayer Service ~ 7:00 PM
805 West Havens
Mitchell, South Dakota


Saturday, March 8, 2014
10:30 AM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 West Havens
Mitchell, South Dakota


Graceland Cemetery
Mitchell, South Dakota

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Posted by Ian & Nancy Gilfillan, Pyro Spectaculars, Ca. on March 12, 2014
Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Starr Family during this very difficult time. Our Company and Industry will remember Cam fondly.
Posted by John Irwin on March 8, 2014
Nothing but great memories growing up with Cam. A close school friend. Spent many weekends at his lake home during our grade school years. Great parents. I last saw Cam at our 50th. class reunion and enjoyed a evening and dinner with Jennifer and him at their home. I share your loss Jennifer, but the memories are forever.
Posted by Gene Barnum on March 8, 2014
Cam you were one of a kind. Rest in peace
Posted by Gene Barnum on March 8, 2014
Cam you were one of a kind. Rest in peace
Posted by Bernard and Jane Brandt-Midwest Wood Specialties on March 8, 2014
Our thoughts are with your entire family. We seen and talked to Cam at all of the NFA conventions.
He was a great person to know, and will be missed by all who knew him.
Posted by Joseph R Bartolotta on March 8, 2014
My sincerest sympathy Jennifer and family. The entire fireworks industry will miss Cam and his love for and enthusiasm for the industry. Cam is/was a one of a kind, a good guy and will never be forgotten.
Posted by Richard Pilatich on March 8, 2014
We are sorry for you loss, our sympathy going out to your family at this time. The NFA has losses a great leader. May God hold you and your family in the palm of his hand at this time. God speed from all of us here at Misbehavenfireworks Fireworks .
Posted by Terry Dean Likens on March 8, 2014
I remember Cam coming to my early tournaments in the 1970's in Rapid City. He tried to convince me to play the Blackmar-Diemer. A few years later I did. He was always fun at chess tournaments. I know he put the fear of the Blackmar-Diemar in many players. He will be missed.
Posted by Jim Kocer on March 7, 2014
Jen: You and your family are in our prayers. I enjoyed visiting and talking about fireworks with Cam so much; he will be deeply missed. May the Lord be with you during this sad time.
Posted by Bob Wallace on March 7, 2014
Jennifer & Family - Sorry for your loss, Cam was a good guy and a Chess Friend to me and others from the early 1960's. He was in Pierre in the early years for chess, in Dec 63 for one, the SD Open.
Posted by Bruce J Zoldan on March 7, 2014
Jennifer and Family, My deepest condolences on Cam's passing. I remember my early days in the APA and will always cherish the conversations, the guidance, the mentoring, the political support and the friendship Cam gave me. Phantom Fireworks development certainly has Cam Starr's contributions in its formula of success. I will cherish his memory!
Posted by Wayne Wilcox on March 7, 2014
I graduated with Cam in the Mitchell High School Class of 1954. I often played chess with Cam while in High School. His classmates have been notified of his death.
Posted by Dewayne Johnson on March 7, 2014
I will miss you Cam my very good friend, I will miss the many long conversations we had. Jennifer you are in my prayers.
Posted by Mark Derby on March 7, 2014
I remember Cam as a great sport at all the chess tournaments we both played in. I've collected his games played in recent SD tournaments and hope to collect more. If you have any of Cam's games in your collection or know any chess players who do, please forward them to me so I can add them to the list on the South Dakota Chess Association website. Details on submissions and Cam's chess games can be found at
Posted by Marx wu on March 6, 2014
So sorry to hear this. I even had dinner with Cam and Jenifer last NFA and he was so vivid in my memory. Cam was a great and kind American I have met. He will be missed by this Chinese friend as well.
Posted by Richard Wesely on March 6, 2014
Our sympathy is with your family. I always enjoyed listening to Cam describe his fireworks at the Class C sales at the PGI Conventions. I shot a lot of Starr Fireworks Class C 16 shot finale racks in my shows in the 80's Great stuff! He will be missed by all.
Posted by Chuck & Deb Decker on March 6, 2014
Our thought are with you, Jennifer. Cam will surely be missed by many many people. He has made a tremendous difference in America's fireworks businesses and all the lives they touch.
Posted by Hal Kantrud, Prairie Pyrotechnics, Inc. on March 6, 2014
Cam was a stalwart in the fireworks industry. I met him in the '70's and considered him a dear friend. He started selling fireworks out of makeshift stands in Aberdeen in 1947 and founded the National Fireworks Association, as well as developing many new products. He will surely be missed.
Posted by Larry and Jerilyn Cornellier on March 6, 2014
Sorry to hear about your loss, He lost a good friend , he will be missed. But he is in a better peacful place..God Bless to all the friends and family.
Posted by Faith Donaldson on March 6, 2014
God bless you with His peace, His rest and His comfort during this time of grief. It is wonderful to know that our Father in heaven not only embraces Cameron, He embraces you too.
Posted by Jason & Tammie Huenink & Girls on March 6, 2014
Jennifer & Family, We are so sorry for your loss. Cam was a wonderful person and will never be forgotten. You are in our thoughts and prayers and please remember we are only a phone call away.
Posted by Carter & Jeannie Bell on March 5, 2014
Jennifer & Family , Our deepest heart felt sympathy & Prayers are with you during this time.

John 14 : 27
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