Captain William (Bill) Bruce Champion, Jr., age 81, died peacefully early Sunday morning, August 28, 2022 at LaGrange Hospice House. Bill was born on December 23, 1940, in Pine Mountain, GA to Bruce and Sara Champion. Bill was the oldest of three boys. He grew up playing football and spent his summers working at Callaway Gardens, where he learned to barefoot ski, trick ski and participated in Callaway’s inaugural Masters Water Ski Tournament.
Bill attended Harris County High School, and after graduation he moved to Miami, FL. Bill’s lifetime goal was to become a pilot, a dream which he pursued despite hurdles in his way. With a hard head and unlimited determination, he never lost sight of his dream! After graduating and receiving his pilot’s license, he returned to Georgia. As a pilot he had many exciting experiences. He was the pilot for then-Governor Jimmy Carter, the Georgia Forestry Commission and, at the pinnacle of his career, he was Captain for Eastern and Air South airlines. Bill’s favorite place on earth was actually over the earth flying through the sky, and being a pilot was his passion.
Bill was a force of nature, determined to provide for his family and give them the life he felt they deserved. He loved to tinker and was often found in his shop or working on his tractors. Bill’s love for John Deere Tractors became a busy job and he loved working on them. He could take one apart and restore it to original beauty. When he retired from being a pilot, he traded tinkering for ownership. Bill grew his father-in-law’s business into an extremely successful water well company that has spanned more than 90 years across four generations. After retiring from his business role, he reconnected with his passion for flight, and was manager of the Harris County Airport until 2018.
Bill was very active at Lanett First Baptist Church for many years. As a church leader he served as a deacon and taught several men’s Sunday Classes. In his later years, he restored his ancestral home in Pine Mountain and moved his church membership to New Covenant Baptist Church.
Bill is preceded in death by wife Lucy Frank, mother Sara, father Bruce, and brother Harrell. He is survived by his wife Judy, brother John (Tina), son Frank (Misty), daughter Laura Lane (Shy), step-daughter Terry (Jeremy) and grandchildren Chandlor, Isabel, Cooper, Carson, Lucy and Max.
The family will greet friends for Visitation on Tuesday August 30, 2022 at 1:00 pm EST at New Covenant Baptist Church in Pine Mountain Georgia. Funerals Services will be held at New Covenant at 2:00pm EST following the Visitation. Graveside Services will be at Oakwood Cemetery also on August 30 at 3:30 pm EST at Oakwood Cemetery in Lanett, Alabama. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to LaGrange Hospice House or New Covenant Baptist church, Pine Mountain.Services have been entrusted to Bluffton Funeral Services, Lanett, Alabama.
For online condolences please visit our website at www.blufftonfuneralservices.com.