Lillian Dismuke Champion

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lillian Dismuke Champion was born November 25, 1922 in Meriwether County, Georgia to B.W. and Irma Phillips Dismuke. Mrs. Champion passed away June 19, 2017 at Bright Way Personal Care Home in Pine Mountain, Georgia.

Mrs. Champion graduated from Chipley High School, attended Georgia State College for Women, and studied Creative Writing at Columbus State University.

While playing piano for a singing school at Bethany Baptist Church in 1940, Lillian met Roy Hubert Champion and the rest was an incredible history.

In their over 65 years of marriage, Lillian and Hubert ran a dairy farm for 25 years, managed a pecan grove, stocked and managed 2 catfish lakes, traveled the world, and volunteered tirelessly for Callaway Gardens. Lillian also told tales of their time working at a peach-packing plant. They somehow had the time to build a concrete block foundation by automobile light to receive a cottage they had purchased and moved to be a family retreat by one of their lakes. During all this hard but rewarding work, they had 2 children: Richard Meredith Champion, and the late Marjorie Champion Salamone. The best part was the arrival of their grandchildren, whom they would sometimes travel long distances to see: John Dismuke Champion, Ann Marie Santillo ,(Andy,) and Amanda Salamone Olcott (Jake.)

Beyond special to Mrs. Champion were her great-grandchildren: Bobby Santillo, Katharine Santillo, Scarlett Olcott, and Benjamin Olcott.

Early in her life, Lillian was bookkeeper/manager for Dismuke Plumbing & Electric. She was the accounts manager for Champion Farms, and was News Editor for the Pine Mountain News. She was correspondent and feature writer for the Harris County Journal as well as Columbus and Atlanta newspapers.

Mrs. Champion was active in the Chipley Women’s Club, co-founder of the Chipley Historical Society, and a member for several years of the Sunnyside Historical Society. In her professional life as a writer and historian, Mrs. Champion received regional, state, and national awards for the three books she authored which focused on the history and life of the Troup, Harris, and Meriwether county area.

Mrs. Champion was an active member of Bethany Baptist Church until she was physically unable to participate. She was also welcomed into the fellowship of Pine Mountain First Methodist Church, Pine Mountain First Baptist Church, Salem United Methodist Church, and for several years was volunteer pianist at Midway Baptist Church.

Mrs. Champion was preceded in death by her parents, B.W. and Irma Dismuke; her husband, Hubert Champion; her brother Leroy Dismuke, and her daughter, Marjorie Champion Salamone. She is survived by her son, Richard M. Champion, M.D. (Shannon) of Birmingham, AL; her grandchildren John Champion of Los Angeles, CA; Ann Marie Santillo (Andy) of Bryn Mawr, PA, and Amanda Olcott(Jake,) of Washington D.C. and her adored great-grandchildren.

She will be fondly remembered by numerous nieces and nephews, the many friends she made in her beloved “Chipley” area, and people she met with whom she shared time and memories.

The family would like to thank the doctors and medical personnel who cared for Mrs. Champion with kindness and concern. We would especially offer thanks and gratitude for all those people at Bright Way Personal Care Home who showed such loving concern and warmth to “Miss Lillian”: Jesse Rodgers, owner and friend, and caregivers Cheryl Smith, Barbara Athill, and Sandra Bailey.

A Service to honor the life of Lillian Dismuke Champion will be held at Cox Funeral Home, Hamilton, GA on June 22, 2017. Visitation will be at 2:00 pm with a service to follow at 3:00pm. A private family service of interment will follow at Pine Mountain Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials for Mrs. Champion may be made to the Marjorie Champion Salamone Scholarship Fund at Troup County High School, LaGrange, GA in care of Richard Champion, 5079 Applecross Road, Birmingham, AL 35242 or John Carroll High School 300 Lakeshore Parkway  Birmingham , AL 35209. Alternatively, contributions may be made in memory of Mrs. Champion to the Chipley Historical Society.