E. J. Champagne, Jr.
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August 9, 1924 ~ August 9, 2014
FRANKLIN - E. J. Champagne, Jr., a former mayor of Franklin, LA, and longtime resident of the city, died at his home in Alexandria on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. He was 90 years old and died on his birthday.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Wednesday Aug. 13 at 1 p.m. at the Church of the Assumption in Franklin, with Fr. Bill Ruskoski officiating. Visitation will be in the church from 10 a.m. till services begin. Burial will be in Franklin Cemetery.
Born in Charenton, LA on Aug. 9, 1924, E.J. lived in Franklin for 83 years, until he and his wife, Paddy, moved to Alexandria in 2010. E.J. was the youngest of 7 children born to E.J. Champagne Sr. and Agnes Hebert Champagne. The family moved to nearby Franklin following the infamous Flood of 1927. Young E.J. attended and graduated from Hanson Memorial High School in 1941. He attended SLI (now UL-L) in Lafayette before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1942.
He was trained at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, and in Hawaii before serving in the Pacific Theater (in New Guinea and The Philippines) under Gen. Douglas MacArthur. After 90 consecutive days of combat, E.J. contracted dysentery, then malaria, and was sent home to the States. He was honorably discharged in 1945.
He re-enrolled at SLI, studied there for a year, then in 1946 transferred to Soule Business School in New Orleans. In 1947, he returned to Franklin and married his college sweetheart, Paddy Richard.
He served as City Clerk for the City of Franklin from 1949 to 1966, then he and his friend George Thompson started a real estate and insurance agency. At the same time, he was appointed to serve as treasurer/coordinator of the St. Mary Parish Police Jury. In 1970, he was elected as Franklin's first fulltime mayor and served a 4-year term. From 1974 thru 2009, he worked for the David H. Stiel real estate and insurance agency. He then retired, and he and Paddy moved to Alexandria, in January 2010.
E.J. was a member of the Knights of Columbus in Franklin and later in Alexandria. He served a term as president of the Louisiana Municipal Clerks Assn. and first vice-president of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. Additionally, in 2002 he was appointed by Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Harry Lemmon to a 5-year term on the Louisiana Attorneys Disciplinary Board.
He was preceded in death by his devoted wife of 63 years, Paddy Richard Champagne, his parents, and an infant son, E.J. Champagne III. He was also preceded by brothers Elton Champagne and wives, Emily and Rae; Lee T. Champagne and his children, Tommy and Kathy C. Smiley; Roy J. Champagne, his wife, Virginia Sandoz Rousseau, and their son, Glen Champagne; his sisters Elaine "Teen" Aycock and husband, C.C. "Taddy" Aycock; Vivian C. Champon, her husband, Marcel and their son, Rodney; Lillian C. Turner, husbands Michel Hebert and W.P. Turner, and daughter Linda H. Case.
He is survived by his four daughters, Cindi C. Angers and husband Trent, Denise C. Yonge, Michele Champagne and Joy Juderman, and Jany Champagne, as well as one grandson, Dr. Kaz Baczinskas, and step-granddaughter, Dr. Rachel Angers Liu. He is also survived by his brothers-in-law, Sidwin Richard and wife Jeannie; Sidney J. Richard, Jr. and wife Gayle; his sisters-in-law, Hope R. Sansing, widow of P.W. "Bill" Sansing; and Sharon R. Biggs and husband, Donald; Winnie R. Champagne, widow of Lee T. Champagne, and a host of treasured nieces and nephews.
Serving as pallbearers will be Ian Biggs, Chris Bollich, Mark Lazarone, Mark Poindexter, David Sansing and Lyle Simoneaux. Honorary pallbearers are Dr. Ken Aycock, Jim Champagne, Skip Hebert, Donald Biggs, Chad Richard, Sidwin Richard, Sydney J. Richard, Dr. Phil Carney, Sam Sansing, Dr. William Sansing, Patty Lou Hidalgo, Don Stiel, Hal Stiel, Bernie Boudreaux, Dr. Olin Desonier, Muriel Gauthier and Craig Thomson.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the St. John-Hanson Memorial Fund, 903 Anderson St., Franklin, LA 70538, 337-828-3487 or to St. Joseph Hospice of Alexandria, 716 Versailles Boulevard, Alexandria, LA 71303, 800-561-0299, who provided excellent care for E.J. in his last days.
Family and friends may view the obituary and express their condolences online by visiting www.iberts.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ibert's Mortuary, Inc., 1007 Main Street, Franklin, LA 70538, (337) 828-5426. 70538, (337) 828-5426.
1007 Main St Franklin, LA 70538
Published in the The Advertiser on Aug. 12, 2014