BRADFORD — Merwyn “Champ” Champion, 86, of Bradford passed away at home in the arms of his family on Sunday, June 9, 2019, after a struggle with cancer.
Champ was born April 28, 1933, to Nolan and Jennie (Montooth) Champion, who farmed southwest of Bradford. He had one sibling, Doris, two years his elder.
Champ attended the Pleasant Mound one-room country school near the family farm and attended high school in Bradford, graduating in 1951. He served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955. He met his wife, Dorothy “Dotti” Nielsen, at a dance in Mineral and they were married in December of 1959. They were soon joined by their children, Mark and Lauri, born in 1962 and 1964, respectively.
Champ worked as an auto mechanic and service manager for 37 years in Kewanee, and he was recognized for excellence through Chevrolet’s “Only the Best” program. Upon his retirement, he returned to farming for 10 years before retiring for good in 2004.
Champ’s family was his top priority, but when time permitted, he enjoyed motorcycling. He relished motorcycle touring with friends and family, and is remembered fondly for a thrilling ride on the Beartooth Pass in Montana. Champ and Dotti were members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association since 1983.
Champ could repair just about anything, a skill that came in handy at home, on the farm and in his career.
Champ is survived by his wife, Dotti; his son, Mark of Knoxville, Tenn.; his daughter, Lauri of Naperville, along with her husband, Mike Etter; and two grandsons, Nicholas and Benjamin Etter.
Champ was preceded in death by his parents and his sister.
The family will receive visitors at 2 p.m. Friday, June 14, at the New Hope Church of the Nazarene, 30 N. Sixth St. in Princeton. The visitation will be followed by a memorial service at 4 p.m. and a dinner reception at 5 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to New Hope Church of the Nazarene.