Champion, Sr., Edward L.

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It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Edward L. Champion Sr., a former resident of Newport News, Virginia, who departed this world on December 22nd, 2023, at the age of 97.

Born in 1926 in Niles, Michigan, Ed was a graduate of the University of Michigan. Ed served his country with honor in the Army during World War II. One of his first jobs after U of M introduced Ed to the revolutionary technology that enabled modern jet engines for military and commercial aircraft, and he never looked back. He raised his two children in Muskegon, Michigan, and then spent the majority of his life in Newport News, Virginia, where his work took him.

Ed was married to Nancy Hughes for over 50 years, and they were deeply in love. Nancy passed away suddenly at age 70 in 2000, and left a void in his life. Some years later he became close friends with June Werz, a widow he had known for many years. After June passed away, Ed became close friends with a neighbor widow, Jan Campbell. Jan and Ed supported each other as they experienced their elder years.

Ed was a sportsman. He enjoyed golf with friends, handball, and tennis. Ed’s love for sailing was a defining passion throughout his life. He raced and explored various small ports on Lake Michigan and the Chesapeake Bay. Whether navigating the waves or simply gazing upon the horizon, he found solace and joy in the ever-changing beauty of the maritime world. In his retirement, Ed dedicated countless hours to the Newport News Mariners Museum and Park, where he generously shared his knowledge and enthusiasm with visitors as a volunteer docent. Ed also enjoyed music and sang bass in the choir at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Newport News for over forty years. He was a good violinist and an excellent clarinetist.

Edward L. Champion Sr. is survived by his loving son, Edward L. Champion Jr., daughter Amy F. Scown, his sister Djina Frye, four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, companion Jan Campbell, and numerous nieces and nephews. The legacy of his kindness, resilience, and love will undoubtedly live on in the hearts of those he leaves behind.

The family thanks the staff of English Meadows in Blacksburg, Virginia, for making Ed’s final years friendly and comfortable. Ed’s caretaker, Kathy Olinger, was especially thoughtful and helpful as Ed approached his final days.

In honoring Edward L. Champion Sr., we reflect on a life well-lived, a legacy well-established, and a spirit that will continue to inspire generations to come. May he find eternal peace and tranquility, navigating the gentle waves of eternity.