GEORGE A. CHAMPINE
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CHAMPINE, George A. Age 78 of Hudson lost his long battle with Leukemia on March 28. He was born in Fairmont, Minnesota, oldest child of Floyd and Genevieve Champine. He graduated from Fairmont High School. George earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Physics and a Ph.D. in Information Systems all from the University of Minnesota. In 1956 he married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Nelson. George was a pioneer in computer technology. He was one of the first 2000 programmers in the world and he continued on the forefront of information technology throughout his professional career. As a graduate student he began work for Univac in St. Paul Minnesota, where he wrote most of the software for the world's first airborne computer. This computer used real-time data from radar to control the rear turret machine guns on a heavy bomber. He also led teams that developed software for the world's first ground-based digital missile guidance system, and computer-controlled radar. He made major computer architecture contributions to the Univac 1100/60 computer. George was very active in the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology Alumni Society and was president during 1979-1980. He was promoted to Director of Research at Univac, Blue Bell Pennsylvania where he managed 146 researchers. He subsequently left Univac and became Senior Vice President of Engineering at Vydec, a subsidiary of Exxon Enterprise Inc. George and Barbara lived in Short Hills, New Jersey at this time. Later he joined Digital Equipment Corp. in the Boston area and they moved to Acton, Massachusetts. At Digital he pioneered high performance graphical workstations. In 1984 Digital assigned him to lead their research team at Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp in Austin, Texas, and in 1986 to become Associate Project Director of Project Athena at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He published a book describing the project. George and Barbara moved to Stow at this time. He subsequently became Director of Technology for Information Systems at Digital, and when Compaq Computer acquired Digital he became Director of Technology and Architecture. Shortly after Hewlett Packard acquired Compaq in 2002 he retired at age 68, and George and Barbara moved to Quail Run in Hudson, MA. In retirement he taught computer classes, maintained websites for four non-profits, and fixed computer problems for Quail Run residents. As a volunteer at the Harvard astronomy department he photographed 80,000 pages of astronomy telescope data and was instrumental in setting up the bar code system in identifying astronomy images. George was on the board of directors for the Hudson Historical Society and The Photographic Historical Society of New England. During George's working career, he taught many college courses part-time, including: Physics at Hamline University in St. Paul, Project management at the University of Minnesota, and Computer Graphics at the University of Texas, MIT in Cambridge, and the University of Massachusetts/Lowell. He has written more than 30 papers published nationally and has authored three books in the computer field. He also wrote four books about life in southern Minnesota and his home town of Fairmont. He was highly respected on a worldwide basis as a speaker on advances in computer science and technology. His interests were photography, family history, electronic music, playing the organ, motorcycling, canoeing, camping, astrophysics, travel, and jogging. Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Barbara; children Renee Olson of San Jose CA, Mark Champine and wife Lori of Westford MA, and Lisa Paton of Hudson MA. He is survived by seven grandchildren, brother John Champine and wife Lynn of Prior Lake MN, and was predeceased by a brother Charles. At his request a Memorial Service will be held at a later date in Minnesota. He will be buried in Lakeside Cemetery, Fairmont MN. A visitation will be held at Tighe-Hamilton Funeral Home, (www.tighehamilton.com) 50 Central Street, Hudson, from 6PM to 8PM on Wednesday, April 3. The family wishes to thank Dr. Steven McAfee, Dr. Philip Amrein, and all the doctors, nurses and staff at MGH who made it possible for George to spend over two and a half extra years with us. He felt fortunate to have the very best care available. Memorials in his name may be made to: The Bone Marrow Transplant Program Fund, Massachusetts General Hospital, Development Office, 165 Cambridge Street suite 600, Boston, MA 02114-2792.


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Published in Boston Globe from Mar. 30 to Mar. 31, 2013.
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Memories & Condolences
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12 entries
August 1, 2016
I found the Champine's through their leaving their contact information in Batavia, IL. Ceorge's maternal Gr-gr grandfather settled in MN and was the brother of my ancestor. He had done a beautiful ad thorough work of genealogy and sent me a notebook of his research. I am so grateful for his work, because he interviewed people and did real detective work, (also much "leg work") to find how our line of Bassetts went back to the first to arrive at Plymouth.
May 29, 2013
I am the luckiest daughter-in-law to have had this quiet, gentle, intelligent, but very modest man, as the grandfather of my children, and the father of my husband. He lived a great life and he taught through example. He loved his family, especially the grandkids. I think of him often and miss his kind smile.
April 30, 2013
George was my very best friend in our high school years and I treasure every memory -- taking each others' graduation pictures and the continuous nonsense we inflicted on other folks, including wonderful Barbara. There was a romance I watched grow and flourish. A genius without doubt.
Mort Mondale
April 9, 2013
George was an extraordinary human being. I enjoyed his ability to listen and to engage others.
As family of Lori Champine, we were together at many family events over the years.

As an MIT grad myself, I would occasionally pass info to him that I thought might interest him.
Through some of these exchanges I learned about the Athena Project from George.

I was amazed. to learn that MIT's Open Courseware was based on work done earlier by George in the Athena Project.

Please accept my condolences Barbara, Renee, Lisa, Mark & Lori and all of his grandchildren. George was an extraordinary man and he will be missed.
Elizabeth Hastings
April 3, 2013
I nominated him as board member at PHSNE. He accepted and won. George was a wonderful participant in the activities at PHSNE. He'll be missed!
Paul Nisula
April 2, 2013
I was so surprised to hear of George's passing. As a former DEC employee ,I had the privilege of working with George for over 5 years. He was truly a remarkable man. His visions and knowledge of It / computing were far ahead of our times back in the early 1990's. He was a good friend and mentor to me. we all had the utmost respect for George and all he had accomplished for Digital. I will never forget him. My thoughts and prayers are with George and all of his loved ones. With my deepest sympathy, John Pacy
John Pacy
April 2, 2013
Quail Run lost a great friend with the passing of George. We will all miss him. I personally was proud to call him a friend and spent many wonderful hours discussing our various ideas together. He fought a valiant battle for over 2 years with great courage and determination. I will miss him greatly.
Harold Edelstein
March 31, 2013
Will always remember his as the uncle who gave us the cool gifts at Christmas (ok so that was really Auntie Barb), who tried to foster in us a love of photography and science, and who listened patiently, taught enthusiastically, and always always made us feel welcome and loved.
March 31, 2013
I am so sorry for the loss of your loved one. Please find peace and comfort in Psalms 65:2.
March 31, 2013
George was a very active member of our organization (the photographic historical society of New England) and he will be greatly missed!
Marti Jones
March 31, 2013
On behalf of our DASCH project and the Harvard College Observatory, I want to express my deepest sympathies to Barbara and Lisa and the family. We at HCO and the CfA will miss George's enthusiasm and energy which contributed so much to DASCH. Not just the remarkable 80,000 images of the telescope logbook pages that he photographed and now provide a database for entry of metadata for the Harvard plates, but also his learned advice on our data storage and computation needs. We'll miss his presence at the weekly CfA colloquia, where George was a frequent attendee. I am relieved to have seen him and had the chance for a brief chat in what seems like just a few weeks ago but may have been slightly longer. Thank you, again, George for all you did; the celestial world you moved within cares deeply.
Josh Grindlay
March 31, 2013
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