James Frederick Champion

James Frederick Champion

Champion

James Frederick Champion, 69 of New London, passed away on May 10, 2017 at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

Born to the late Frederick Champion and Dorothy Hemming on July 29, 1947. James proudly served in the Royal Navy then off to a career with British Airways as a Flight Engineer.  Jim was an avid reader, and a love for sailing. In the last few years he enjoyed touring the country in his motor home with his wife, Leslie.

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his first wife of 23 years, Lara Champion.

Those left to cherish his memory include his wife, Leslie Sessoms Champion; a son, Gareth Champion; a daughter, Tanith Champion both from England; two sisters, Mary Croft and husband John of England, and Margaret Broom and husband John of England; a step daughter, Katie Godin; son-in-law Brett Godin; one grandchild, Blake William Godin from Raleigh; Leslie’s parents Cy and Jane Israel of Aberdeen, N.C; as well as a two nephews and 2 nieces from England.

There will be a memorial service held on Sat. June 3rd at Bethesda Presbyterian Church in Aberdeen, N.C. At 2 p.m. There will be a reception following the service at Leslie’s parents home at 210 E. Main Street, Aberdeen, N.C.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Bethesda Presbyterian Church, music ministry or a charity of your choice.

Carolina Cremation is assisting the Champion family.  Online condolences may be made at www.carolinacremation.com


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  1. Nick Croft says:

    Jim was my uncle and he was an inspirational and fantastic uncle to me. I stayed with him a lot when I was younger. Why? I enjoyed his company, he encouraged me to think outside the box, we had very interesting conversations and he would always explain and show me how things worked and often how to fix them when they didn’t. He never once told me I was too young to do something.
    I often with him to British Airways training flight simulators where Jim worked assessing Flight Engineers. I flew several passenger planes after Jim asked his pilot colleagues if his young nephew could fly the simulator. They all agreed and even showed me how to fly the planes. It was great fun as was Jim’s gentle and good natured ‘ribbing’ when I usually crashed on landing. I remember being so pleased with myself on one occasion to have actually landed the plane and not crashed, until Jim, in fits of laughter, just put his hand on my shoulder and said “you have to keep control after landing, the middle of terminal one at Boston Airport is really not recommended for a 747!”
    It was largely Jim’s doing that I decided to pursue a career in engineering before I later left and joined the Police Service. My then girlfriend and now my wife Alison and me would often pop over to see him when I learnt to drive and we stayed with him on quite a few occasions. I loved him, I will miss him hugely and can’t believe at the moment that I’m not going to see him again.
    Rest in peace Jim, you made a difference to my life and those of others around you and we will keep your memory in our hearts forever.
    Nick
    X

  2. Nancy Arnold says:

    Leslie, I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Jim, other than to speak briefly when you were back for a visit, but I could see he was a wonderful man and that the two of you were very happy. My heart aches for you in your grief. Please know you have good friends and support at Bethesda. We love you.

  3. Nelson and Georgie Blue says:

    Leslie, so sorry to hear about Jim’s death! You and the family are in our prayers! Gods’ blessings for you!!

  4. Linda Rummage says:

    Leslie, I’m so sorry for your lose. The times that I was around Jim he was so nice and we all enjoyed talking to him. You have a lot of friends that love you and will help in any way we can. You’re in our prayers. Linda & Johnnie
    Rummage

  5. Chris Fintzel says:

    My most sincere condolences to Leslie, and all of Jim’s family, at this sad, sad time. Jim was a wonderful and kind man, and he will be missed by all. I regret that my daughters and I will no longer have the pleasure of his company, although we cherish the memories of the times that we have shared. May happy memories bring Peace to all those who will miss him.

  6. Jerry&Shirley Bell says:

    Dear Leslie and family, we are still at a loss for words about Jim. Having just seen you not to long ago on your visit to Livingston and how good both of you looked. My Brother-in-law Jim Pead has not taken this well. I truly believe he was as close or closer to your Jim then his own brother. I haven’t seen him this down since Betsy’s passing. Please except our condolences and heartfelt wishes for peace for everyone. His rye humor was a gift to all. He will be missed and I can’t imagine being without my Shirley. We love you Leslie. Jerry & Shirley

  7. Jim Dewberry says:

    Jim and I joined the Royal Navy on the same day as 16 year olds back in 1963. We spent most of our 5 years as apprentices living and working together and building memories we would never forget. I hadn’t seen Jim for over 40 years, but our paths crossed just a few weeks ago in Wilmington NC. We spent an extensive lunch ‘catching up’. Looking ahead to a renewed friendship with Jim & Lesley was sadly snatched away and I’m deeply saddened, but not a fraction of what Lesley is feeling. I can’t be at the memorial service on the 3rd June as I’m returning to Australia. My thoughts will be with Lesley that day. God Bless and stay in touch Lesley.
    Jim & Hope

  8. Herbert & Heidrun Hoffmann, Germany says:

    We are very proud to had the possibility to meet this great man and became friends. We miss him so! We will keep him in our minds for ever. Leslie we love you and your family and we hope to see you again.
    Love Heidrun and Herbie, Berlin, Germany

  9. Ken & Janet says:

    Fond memories of our friend Jim. He came into our lives some 38 years ago when he and I were on the Flight Safety committee of MNAOA representing the Flight Engineers with BA. We spent many happy times socialising with Jim and his family. Although he moved house frequently, he liked the challenge of renovating them, we managed to stay in touch and share and admire his handiwork. There was always lots to talk and laugh about. His family, friends and pets were all very special to him.
    After he moved to the US we still saw Jim regularly. 14 years ago he met and married Leslie, such a loving couple. Jim couldn’t have been happier. Their annual visits to the UK usually incorporated the BA Flight Engineers reunion as well as seeing family and us. He knew his way around our kitchen fairly well, beer and wine, but his special treat was always Tiger Bread and Butter!
    We will miss Jim very much, Leslie you are always welcome in our home. Love Janet & Ken

  10. Ken & Janet says:

    PS We will have a Shepherd’s Pie in his memory. Ken

  11. Jimmy Clark says:

    Jim and me as well as Jim Dewberry joined the Royal Navy in September 1963 as Artificer Apprentices in HMS Fizgard, Plymouth;just 16 years old. You can see Jim was a name shared by a lot of us. The Royal Navy Artificer Apprenticeship was probably the best in the country. We specialised after 12 months and all the Jim’s became Aircraft Artificers specialising in Airframes and Engines. Another four years were then spent in training and we eventually qualified in 1968. Jim and me were very competative in the classroom especially in maths and aeronautics. We had crazy teachers who were ex flyers. Do the math for a stall turn then up in the Princess (always overloaded) out over the North Sea to put it into practice. Both Jim and me left the RN in 1970 after the government of the day decimated the Fleet Air Arm to our disgust. I last bumped into Jim at Heathrow Airport in 1971 as he began working for BOAC. He gave me his course notes which I still have. A nice chap who will be missed by all. I have some not very good photographs of him at 16 and 19 in naval uniform.

  12. Gail Sebile says:

    Leslie,
    As you know I am very fond of you both. I am sorry I have not seen much of you in the past few years. It does not mean that I have not thought about you both so very often.
    I was so happy when you and Jim found one another…You are a darling and he was just one of my very favorite people. I am thrilled to have called him my friend and will miss his charming ways. He had a passion…..and warmth that few have and I have enjoyed every moment I have spent with you both.
    Hugs and Kisses for you my dear. Hugs for you in heaven my dear friend Jim.
    Love for you both ,

    Gail and Cameron

  13. SUSAN LORD says:

    Leslie, I’m so sorry about Jim’s passing. I knew him briefly, but in that short time, it was clear he loved you. That, alone, made me think so much of him. Please know that you are in my prayers and even though I am not able to see you as much as I’d like, you’re in my thoughts often. I love you and will see you in a few months. Susan