Wendy Cammins, who shared her passion for seeing the far corners of the world with countless clients during a 42-year career as a travel agent, died of lung cancer Dec. 27 at her Minneapolis home. She was 65.
Cammins also devoted a great deal of time and energy to charity work, especially with Quota International of Minneapolis, of which she was a past president. The group, an international service agency, works to help disadvantaged women and children around the world, especially those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Cammins was born in Minneapolis and was destined to be named Wilhelmina until her 7-year-old sister intervened in protest and suggested Wendy, a name that would come to better suit her free spirit.
That sister, Barby Schneider, now of Palm Springs, Calif., said Wendy was “a devilish little kid with lots of spirit from the moment she was born,” often singing and dancing outside for the neighbors, her braids or pigtails (which her mother had her wear in a futile attempt to control her curly hair) bouncing.
She graduated from the former West High School in Minneapolis and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota, but soon plunged into a different career, one that would captivate her for life — that of a travel planner.
“She worked for Travel One for 42 years, a pretty unusually long career these days,” Schneider said, adding that although the business, of which she was co-owner, struggled after the Internet changed the way many people plan travel, she was able to stick with it, working from home over the past few years planning corporate travel and vacations.
Cammins loved her work in no small part because she loved to travel herself, her sister said. She had traveled to all seven continents and especially enjoyed meeting up with her nephew, Craig Schneider of Los Angeles, for cruises, most recently on a “cruise to nowhere” out of Miami.
“Wendy was my ‘cool’ aunt, and a very dear friend,” Craig Schneider said. “We enjoyed many fun times together. To know Wendy was to love her.”
Cammins married at age 50, and although she was later divorced, had no regrets, her sister said. “She told me she had a wonderful life, had tried marriage, had tried everything,” Schneider said. “She was so outgoing and fun-loving, had so many friends, and an infectious smile and a ready laugh. She loved music and dancing, and parties — she could party till 4 or 5 in the morning and wake up early and head out for work, or for more partying.”
She also greatly enjoyed the camaraderie of like-minded friends and the opportunity to help others in her work with Quota International and other charity groups, her sister said.
In addition to her sister, nephew and other relatives, Cammins is survived by her former husband, Rick Klass of Salt Lake City, and stepchildren Emily and Michael Klass. Services have been held.