Cameron Addleman was building a life his parents were proud of.
The 20-year-old Tacoma man was excelling at his new job selling cars. He was moving into a house with his best friend. He was practicing to become a DJ. He worked hard and loved harder.
The same traits that once filled Shari and Chris Addleman with pride now bring them heartache. Their son, the little boy who sketched cars and cracked jokes, died Sunday in a fiery crash in the Stadium District.
“He loved life. He was adventurous. His smile was infectious,” his dad said. “Everybody’s life that he touched was forever different because of him.”
The younger Addleman was a typical boy who enjoyed drawing, sports and music. He played the trumpet until he got braces and recently bought turntables in hopes of becoming a DJ like his dad was at his age. As a student at Cascade Christian High School, he played football, basketball and golf.
His old football coach, Randy Davis, said Cameron completely bought into the program’s culture that sacrificed the “I over we.”
“Cameron was a great kid,” Davis said. “He was very fun-loving, worked very, very hard. It just amazed me that he always had a smile on his face.”
Friends and family members said he was always happy, always smiling, always trying to make other people laugh. It’s what drew others to him.
“He could just make you laugh like nobody else,” his mother said. “I still think he’s going to come walking in the door and tell me something funny that’s happened in the day.”
As her son grew older, Shari Addleman said, she was struck by the man he was becoming. She marveled at his positivity, his determination, his integrity, his desire to connect with other people and understand their experiences.
He never did anything halfway.
“He was not afraid of success,” Chris Addleman said. “Failure wasn’t an option.”
When Cameron asked a girl to prom, he covered an abandoned house with beautiful graffiti detailing his proposal. When he decided he wanted to sell cars, he ignored his dad’s warning that he couldn’t land a job without experience. Weeks later, he was hired as a salesman at Tacoma Nissan.
General sales manager Don Wellner said Cameron was doing well at the job because of his hard work and ease with customers. Bringing someone on board with limited experience was a risk that paid off, he said.
“He really wanted the opportunity to sell cars, and I could see he was a good kid, full of life,” Wellner said.
Tacoma police are still investigating the crash that claimed Cameron’s life.
Witnesses told police he was speeding up to 100 miles per hour before he hit two parked cars and a light pole near North Tacoma and Division avenues. His car was engulfed in flames.
A celebration of life will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Foursquare Church, 601 Ninth Ave. SE in Puyallup. His family asked that those who attend not wear black and come with stories to tell about Cameron.
“I know he’s with me spiritually, but I’m heartbroken,” his mom said. “I feel so bad for everybody that lost him, even those he would have met in the future.”