Cover photo for Norman Edward Joseph Champagne's Obituary
Norman Edward Joseph Champagne Profile Photo
1936 Norman 2022

Norman Edward Joseph Champagne

December 23, 1936 — December 20, 2022

Norman Edward Joseph Champagne passed peacefully with his loving family by his side on December 20, 2022. He was born December 23, 1936, in White Plains, NY, the son of Anna and Edward Champagne. They moved to Fall River, MA in 1940, where he grew up.
Norman married Janet Martin of Middletown on July 6, 1957, and they spent 67 wonderful, adventurous years together. They have three children: George M. "Rusty" (Camilla), Anderson, SC; David N. (Debbie), Portsmouth; and Lauree (Jay Metzger), N. Kingstown. Grandchildren Connor Gilmore; Joshua and Sophia Champagne; Will, Tina, Tonya, and Milan Avery of Indiana. Great-grandchildren include Nathan Avery and several more.
Norman had a wonderful sense of humor, a sharp and curious mind, an enthusiasm for life, a deep faith and thoughtful spirituality. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church for 65 years, serving as member, Sunday School teacher, youth leader, elder, deacon, trustee and Clam Bake Master. Among the favorite gifts he made for the church were four hand-carved mahogany crosses for the worship hall and a hand-carved etching of the church for the Sunday School.
As a young man Norm was an accomplished body builder; a New England weight-lifting champion at age 18. He graduated from the Toledo Meat Cutting School in 1955 and worked as a Master Butcher for 12 years at the National King Supermarket and Newport Provision.
He attended Roger Williams College, was President of the Class of 1964, and graduated with an Associate Degree in Business. He graduated from Barrington College in 1970 with a Bachelor's in Education, and went on to earn his Master's Equivalent in education through courses at the University of Rhode Island and Salve Regina.
Norm was a science teacher at Pocasset and Tiverton Middle Schools for over 26 years. He had a hands-on style of teaching, bringing natural objects and animals into the classroom and home for the summer. He was honored as an Outstanding Elementary Teacher of America and was listed in Who's Who Among American Teachers. He was also among 125 finalists to be the first teacher on the Space Shuttle Challenger mission.
Norm volunteered every Saturday for many years as the Wildlife Educator at the Norman Bird Sanctuary. He was also a guest lecturer and dedicated volunteer at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. He was fascinated by Rhode Island history and geology and gave lectures at local libraries and non-profits as a local historian.
He was an ocean navigator, small-craft captain, and fisherman throughout his life. He was also a talented artist and woodcarver and found great joy in his workshop. He was an excellent cook who loved to make his specialties for family celebrations.
He and Janet travelled the world together, often bringing their children and grandchildren along for their adventures. They shared a love for animals and adopted many dogs and cats from Potter Animal League.
Everyone who knew Norm loved him, laughed with him, and will miss him greatly.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday January 14, 2023, at First Presbyterian Church in Newport at 11:00am for all to share their stories.
Donations can be made in his name to the First Presbyterian Church in Newport or Potter Animal League in Middletown.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Norman Edward Joseph Champagne, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, March 16, 2024

First Presbyterian Church

4 Everett Street, Newport, RI 02840

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