We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home
Paul E. Champigny, of Ashfield, MA, and Clearwater, FL, 87, unexpectedly passed away on July 28, 2022, while playing golf on his favorite local golf course, Edgehill in Ashfield.
Paul was born on September 25, 1934, to Emile and Genevieve (Clare) Champigny, in Holyoke. After graduating from Holyoke Catholic High School in 1952. He was a proud member of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers union. In 1966, he began his career as a systems analyst at Yankee Atomic in Rowe, MA, moving with his family to Colrain in 1968. In 1981, he relocated to Yankee Seabrook in Portsmouth, NH. He and his wife, Gail, relocated to Danville, NH. He retired from Seabrook in 1990 and he and Gail moved to their retirement home in Clearwater, FL for the winters. During the summers, they resided in Ashfield, MA living next door to family-owned (son-in-law and daughter) Edgehill Golf Course. In his retirement years in Ashfield, he enjoyed working at the golf course mowing fairways and greens, “cutting the cups” on the green, and repairing course equipment (welding was a favorite).
Growing up in Willmansett, MA he was always passionate about sports, playing football, hockey, and baseball throughout his youth. As a young adult, he played minor league baseball in Holyoke. He continued to play in men’s softball and bowling leagues, but golf became his true passion. He played in many leagues while in MA and NH. When he retired to Clearwater, FL, he became an active member in the County Golf League of Pinellas County until his death. When in MA, he was a member of the Edgehill Men’s league and was held in high esteem by the members there. Paul enjoyed playing on courses throughout New England and FL, participating in many golf tournaments. He won many championships and had at least 8 “hole-in-ones” to his credit, earning the last one on his 85th birthday. Paul was always pleased to “shoot his age” which he did often. He volunteered in FL at several professional golf tournaments throughout the years. March 2022 was his 20th year as a volunteer at the Valspar Tournament. He shared his passion for golf and sports with his friends and family. Many of his family members have been inspired by and pursued his passion for golf, often playing with him.
On June 26, 1954, Paul married the love of his life, Gail Jones in Holyoke, MA. When first married, they lived in St. Johnsbury, then Whitingham, VT. They settled in Colrain in 1968 to raise their family of seven (7) children. Anyone who knew Paul knew his family meant more to him than anything else in the world, something he was very proud of and often talked about. He is survived by his beloved wife of 68 years, Gail, and his children, Susan Rainville of Cape Coral, FL, Betty (Mark) Graves of Ashfield, MA, Patricia (Tim) Shippee, of Winchester, NH, Paul (Nancy) Champigny of Kingston, NH, Ellen (Marc) Bitzer of Colrain, MA, Paula Davis of Cape Coral, FL and Nancy (partner Joel Martinez) Buckley of Cape Coral, FL. His love and guidance will be sadly missed by his adored 24 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-granddaughter. Paul also leaves his sisters, Clare Gavron of South Hadley, Carol Bouchard of Springfield, Christine Willemaine of Brown Summit, NC, his brother, Robert, of Holyoke, and many, many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was respected and admired by all those whose lives he touched. Paul will be immensely missed by all.
There will be calling hours held at Smith and Kelleher Funeral Home in Shelburne Falls, MA on Wednesday, August 3rd from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Buckland on Thursday, August 4th, at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in his memory to one of his and Gail’s favorite charities, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, or at the charity of your choice.