Kenneth Ray Champion

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Kenneth Ray Champion, 88, of Buna went to be with his Lord, Jesus Christ, on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. He was employed by the Buna Independent School District for forty years as a high school English and Journalism teacher, then a counselor, and during the last years there, he served as Curriculum Coordinator. Ken joined the First United Methodist Church in 1955 where he served in many capacities. Ken loved his family, his church, his job, the students he taught, and the community in which he lived. Ken served during WWII in the Naval Air Corp as a Radioman. Upon his discharge, he returned home to Nacogdoches and attended Stephen F. Austin University to pursue a career in journalism. He earned a Bachelor's degree in English and journalism. He married Bettye Marie Neely in 1946. In 1948, Ken was hired at Buna ISD as an English teacher. After a short adjustment period, he realized teaching was exactly what God intended him to do. Although teaching was his calling, family responsibilities named Karen, Kathy, and Stephen, born within 3-1/2 years of one another, required that he do a few other things, too. Ken also worked at Kaine's Grocery Store before and after school each weekday and on Saturdays and half a day on Sunday, and he drove a school bus for Buna ISD. He became the senior sponsor, the yearbook sponsor, the school newspaper sponsor, but most of all, he became the man that so many students and teachers alike respected, loved, trusted, and appreciated. Later in his career, through Stephen F. Austin, Ken earned his Master's degree in Counseling. Shortly thereafter, he became the counselor for all of Buna ISD. After several years in this role, he then became the Curriculum Coordinator for Buna ISD, the position from which he retired in 1988. After retirement, Ken achieved his life-long dream of being a journalist as the first editor of Buna's Beacon. Ken is preceded in death by his mother and father, Zula and Ray Champion, his sister, Wanda Guilott, and his great-grandson, Zachary Christopher Green. Ken is survived by Bettye, his wife of 67 years; two sisters, Barbara Champion Pruitt and Betty Champion Stevick; three children, Karen Champion Bond and husband, David, Kathryn Champion Gish, and husband, Elton, and Stephen Kenneth Champion, and wife, Kay; ten grandchildren, Julie Motomura, and husband, Maz, Jason Green, and wife, Julie, Preston Bond, Matthew Bond and wife, Amanda, Heather Champion and Ben Miller, Matt Turner and wife, Traci, Bryan Freeman and wife, Brandi, Lacy Beaver and husband, Ryan, Stefanie Danos and husband, Alan, and Christopher Champion; 23 great-grandchildren, Reese Turner, Hutson and Wesley Bond, and Monique, Ashley, Lauren, and Melanie Bond, John, Reid, and Nicholas Hawthorn, Malayna Motomura, Quincy and Catherine Green, Mackenzie, Kendall, and Ryan Corbett, Emersyn Beaver, Kiersten Perez, Alexis and Zoey Danos, Hagan and Hope Freeman, and numerous neices and nephews. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kenneth Champion Memorial Scholarship, BBVA Compass in Buna or The First United Methodist Church, Buna. Visitation will be held at EE Stringer Funeral Home in Buna on Thursday, October 17 from 5 - 8 in the evening. The funeral services will be at The First United Methodist Church, Buna, on Friday, October 18, at 2 PM.

Funeral Home
Adam E E Stringer Funeral Home
34490 Us Highway 96 S
Buna, TX 77612
(409) 994-3646
Published in The Beaumont Enterprise on Oct. 17, 2013
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