Visitation will be held on Friday, June 8, beginning at 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. at Pellerin Funeral Home.
Rev. Ed Degeyter will officiate at the Memorial Mass. Readers will be Cy Dugas and Darrell Savoy. Gift Bearers will be his great-grandchildren.
Inurnment will follow at St. Michael Mausoleum. He will be honored with a Military Graveside Ceremony.
Paw, as he was affectionately called by his family, was a loving and dedicated husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. A native of Parks, he lived most of his life in St. Martinville. Paw’s death marks the passing of another of our country’s “Greatest Generation” as he was a veteran of World War II. He honorably served his country in the United States Army in the European Theater. As a machine gunner on an armored half-track, he fought in historic battles in Brittany Peninsula, Metz, and Bastogne and helped to liberate Buchenwald Concentration Camp as a member of the 50th Armored Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division.
After the war, he married the former Leona Judice and lovingly shared his life with her for 64 years before her death in 2011. He was part owner of Champagne and Savoy, a business he operated for nearly 50 years before retiring at age 73. He then became a key employee in his daughter and son-in-law’s business, MAL Enterprises, and worked until dementia began to drastically alter his life at age 86. It is obvious that Paw lived by the adage, “Hard work never killed anyone!” Paw was always interested in current events, and he was often the source of knowledge on the nation’s and world’s events whenever needed. He dedicated his life to his family, loving unconditionally and always placing their needs before his own. Paw loved the old song, “Que Sera, Sera”, Whatever Will Be, Will Be, and lived accordingly, always accepting life’s trials with constant and humble faith in God. And now, although Paw’s absence will leave a deep void in all of our lives, he leaves a legacy of values that he taught us all through his example. Always a man of few words, he demonstrated to us the true meaning of unconditional love, hard work, honesty, humility, dignity, kindness, and self-sacrifice. Our family’s hero may be gone physically, but his influences on so many will live on forever.
He is survived by his three children, Elizabeth and her husband Malcolm Dugas, Sharon Champagne and Joey Champagne, all from St. Martinville; his three grandchildren, Cy Dugas and his wife Leah from Lafayette, Todd Champagne and his wife Angel from St. Martinville, and Julie Dugas from New York City; his six great-grandchildren, Sarah Dugas, Luke Dugas, Adam Dugas, Aiden Champagne, Ambree Champagne and Elisa Dugas Crociana; his brother, Louis Champagne; and his sister, Cecile C. Vincent.
He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 64 years, Leona Judice Champagne; his parents, René and Celestine Melancon Champagne; his siblings, Lucy Champagne, Julie Cormier, Lucette Broussard, Theresa Daspit and Richard Champagne.
The family expresses heartfelt thanks and gratitude to his caregivers, his niece Dianne Aucoin, his sister-in-law Stella Judice, Jeanne Doucet and Lori Schiesser, who provided loving care to their father/grandfather for the last few years. Thank you also to Hospice of Acadiana and his nurses, Judith, Louise and Don, for the compassionate care and support offered to Paw and to the family during the last year.
Pellerin Funeral Home of St. Martinville is in charge of arrangements.
To view on-line obituary, sign guestbook and view video tribute, go to www.pellerinfuneralhome.com.