My Uncle Don, Donald Arthur Champoux, was another silent member of "The Greatest Generation." While serving in World War II in the Army Air Force, he contracted tuberculosis. He spent a long while in a TB sanitorium in Middleton, Massachusetts, and lived for the rest of his life with the use of only one lung. It never seemed to slow him down. He was tenacious in everything he did. I never got to see him in his heyday as a baseball player, but those in the know say that had not the war and illness derailed him, he could have played professional ball.
Like my father, who also served during that time in the Army Air Force, Uncle Don seldom talked about the war years.
He served as Class President of his Newburyport High School Class of 1944, his sister, Arlene Champous Spearin, served as Class Vice-President, and his wife, Isabelle Cooper Champoux, served as Class Secretary. How's that for a political family juggernaut!
On this Veterans' Day, the day before we will bury him, I salute Uncle Don.
You served well and fought a long fight.
SALISBURY — Donald Arthur Champoux, age 83, longtime Salisbury resident, died unexpectedly Saturday morning, Nov. 7, 2009, at his home in Salisbury.
He was the beloved husband of Isabelle W. (Cooper) Champoux, celebrating their 63rd wedding anniversary this past Oct. 20th.
Born in Newburyport, Jan. 29, 1926, he was the son of the late Arthur G. and Ruth (Simmons) Champoux. A graduate of Newburyport High School, Class of 1944, he was Class President and had been an exceptional ball player. He went on to graduate from McIntosh Business College in 1952 and attended Northeastern University.
During World War II, Mr. Champoux served with the United Stated Army Air Force, honorably discharged on Nov. 4, 1945.
Donald had worked as a plant manager at Chase Shawmut; industrial engineer at C.B.S. Hytron and retired as business manager at Governor Dummer Academy in Byfield.
He never lost his love of playing baseball, and he actually was one of the best ball players in Salisbury, playing for the Salisbury Town League; was a Little League Coach for Salisbury and was an avid Red Sox Fan.
Mr. Champoux was an active member of Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, where he served as Senior and Junior Warden for many years; ran the children's services and was a former member of the Choir. He also provided services at Brigham Manor Nursing Home for 29 years and made regular ministerial visits at the Anna Jaques Hospital, bringing comfort to those in need.
In addition to is loving wife, he leaves behind two sons, Donald C. Champoux of Newburyport and Arthur J. Champoux and wife Beverly of Dover, N.H.; three grandsons, Chad of Shelburne Falls and Gary and Keith of Dover, N.H.; two great-granddaughters, Brianna and Courtney both of Dover, N.H.; a sister, Arlene Spearin of Camden, Maine; a brother, Bruce Champoux of Danville, N.H.; as well as several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Louise Chase.