Former pastor dies after being struck by rock

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Landmark News Service

He was a man of God, statistics and hunting.

Friends and family gathered on Friday and Saturday to say goodbye to Paul Dameron, who had worked at Campbellsville University for 30 years.

Last Wednesday, Dameron died while driving home from his job.

According to Campbellsville Police, Dameron was traveling south on KY 55 at 3:40 p.m. Witnesses told police they saw Dameron’s vehicle begin to slow, drift into the other lane of traffic and up an embankment, where it came to rest.

Upon arrival at the scene, police found Dameron, 58, in his red Chevrolet pickup truck. After an investigation, police stated in a news release, they learned a rock had traveled through Dameron’s windshield and struck him in the face.

Campbellsville Police Chief Tim Hazlette said a roadside mowing crew, contracted by the state, was mowing in the area and the rock was thrown from one of the crew’s lawnmowers.

The report states that Dameron was airlifted from the scene by AirEvac personnel and then transported to University of Louisville Hospital. Dameron was pronounced dead a short time later.

Officer Jonathon Leigh is continuing the investigation into Dameron’s death.

Hazlette said he doesn’t expect any charges to be filed in Dameron’s death since there appears to have been no intention to harm him.

Hazlette said he doesn’t believe the worker who operated the lawnmower knew the rock could have been capable of hitting Dameron.

“If there is such a thing as an accident with an unintended consequence ... I think this probably meets the definition of accident.”

Hazlette said Dameron and the lawnmower operator, who has not been named, appear to have both been following all laws and traveling safely when the incident occurred.

“Our time is not known,” Hazlette said. “I’m sure sorry for the family. I’m sure the other fellas working out there feel bad, too.”

Dameron had worked as director of institutional research at CU since 2000.

The Rev. Fred Miller, who had worked with Dameron at CU and was a close friend, said Dameron was a warm person who was down to earth and congenial.

“It’s that shock of a young vibrant life getting snatched away from us so quick,” Miller said. “It’s so hard to digest.”

He said Dameron loved the outdoors, especially snow, and was very educated and enjoyed analyzing data.

“The colder the weather, the more he liked it,” Miller said.

Miller said Dameron liked getting to know students at CU and helping them learn about God and the Bible.

Dameron was a man of God, Miller said. He had served as pastor at Rolling Fork Baptist and Harts Chapel United Methodist churches.

“He loved the word,” Miller said. “He was a student of the Bible.”

And Dameron loved talking about the bible on a conversational level. He also liked talking to people and getting to know them.

“He wanted to know you. He wanted you to know that he knew you. He wanted to know if you knew Jesus. He wanted to know if you wanted to know Jesus, if you didn’t know him,” Miller said.

“He believed in the power of prayer.”

Miller said he met Dameron when he came to CU as a student. They later worked in the financial aid department together and became close friends.

Dameron raised and showed Newfoundland and Great Pyrenees dogs, and, according to those who knew him, loved duck hunting.

Miller said Dameron’s dogs won several championships and he quickly gained a reputation of raising quality dogs.

“They were four-legged family, those dogs,” Miller said.

Matt Matney of Greensburg was a long-time hunting companion of Dameron’s.

They met through a mutual friend and became friends quickly.

Matney said Dameron sold him a hunting dog and that got him involved in dog training, like Dameron was.

She said one of Dameron’s hunting dogs was so well trained that she was able to bring ducks right to them.

Matney said Dameron was a staunch conservative and believed strongly in liberty and personal freedom.

“He practiced that every day of his life,” Matney said.

Matney said he never heard Dameron talk badly about people, and he didn’t shy away from hard work.

“He woke up ready to go,” Matney said. “Geared to go do the jobs people don’t like doing, like mowing the grass and cutting wood.”

Matney describes Dameron as unique and a “little eccentric,” but also as very kind and intelligent.

And Dameron will be missed, he said.

“You have no idea,” Matney said. “An absolute fine man.”

Matney said he believes God knew something was coming in Dameron’s life that he wouldn’t be able to handle, such as an illness or pain.

“He didn’t want Paul to suffer.”

Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of CU, said, “The sudden and tragic death of Paul Dameron has saddened the entire Campbellsville University family. Paul was a dedicated, hard working and valued member of our administrative team.

Paul Dameron spent three decades as a servant leader at CU and made many positive contributions to our students, faculty, staff and coaches. He had a keen and insightful mind and provided invaluable information and data as institutional research director.

Miller said he describes Dameron’s death as a tragic accident.

“You think about all the variables that would have to perfectly aligned for that to happen,” he said. “It’s the stuff of incomprehension.”

Miller said he spoke to a deputy coroner at University of Louisville hospital who said she has seen many types of deaths caused by extreme and unusual factors.

“She assured us that this ranked near the top of that list,” he said.

Miller said it’s hard to lose a friend, but he believes God has already helped him begin to heal.

“God’s grace is sufficient,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I don’t think about my friend and miss him very much.

Dameron was married to Betty Dameron.

Survivors also include a son, Johnny Walters of Campbellsville, and two daughters, Vicki Dameron of Lexington and Tammy Thomas of Bowling Green.
Dameron’s funeral was Saturday at Ransdell Chapel on the CU campus. Miller officiated the service.

Interment was in Campbellsville Memorial Gardens. Lyon-DeWitt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Some information for this story was provided by Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator at CU.