Biography - Remembering Paul Champion 5-String Banjo Master

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Paul Champion
Born:  March 23, 1938, in the Panama Canal Zone
Died:  February 14, 1986, Gainesville, Florida
Father:  George Paul Champion
Mother:  Helen J. Champion

by Joe Spann

George Paul Champion Jr. was born on March 23, 1938 in the Panama Canal Zone.

Paul's father, George Paul Champion Sr. was born on August 12, 1911 in Marion, Williamson County, Illinois. He died on March 22, 1969 in Sacramento, California.

Paul's paternal grandparents were Robert G. and Lula B. Champion. Mr. Champion was born about 1886 in Kentucky and was a traveling candy salesman.

Paul's mother, Helen J. Jeffers, was born on June 28, 1916 in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.
Helen was married during 1936 in Taylor County, Florida to George Paul Champion Sr. She died on June 18, 1973 in Osceola County, Florida.

Paul also had one aunt, Margaret Louise Jeffers, who was born on April 18, 1915 in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Margaret was married during 1937 in Taylor County, Florida to Frank W. Gillespie. Mr. Gillespie rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force and had a distinguished career. Both Frank and Margaret are deceased and buried in the Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery in Texas.

Paul's maternal grandparents were Paul E. and Margaret Jeffers. Mr. Jeffers born during October 1884 in Pope County, Minnesota and was a logging company operator in Louisiana and Jacksonville, Florida.

Paul's maternal great-grandparents John and Margaret Jeffers were both immigrants from Ireland to Canada.



Something is funny.

Checking his fingers.

Paul and puppy

Just Paul

Paul and Dad

Checking the back yard

Paul in Nashville, Tenn.

Paul in Perry, Fla.

Paul at Bat

Paul ready for the snap

Basketball team, Arlington, Va. Paul in the middle.

Paul Admitted to West Point, July 1956

Paul's father and uncle were colonels in the Army.
We think that Paul failed the West Point physical due to childhood rheumatic fever.
It damaged his heart and eventually claimed his life at the age of 47.

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