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Vivian Eaker Champion

LAWNDALE — Mrs. Vivian Champion, 73, died Tuesday, July 30, 2002, at home.

She was born Aug. 31, 1928, just outside Lawndale at the Eaker home place. She graduated in the 1945 class of Piedmont High School, after starring as a basketball player during her high school years. She attended nursing school at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She married Robert Champion on Jan. 6, 1948. Except for two periods, 1950-51 and 1953-60, during which they lived in Rockland County, N.Y., the family has resided near Lawndale.

In 1961, Vivian went to work as a nurse’s aide at what was then Cleveland Memorial Hospital. She worked nights at the hospital and days raising her three sons. She also helped her mother care for her father, who was paralyzed for 15 years after suffering a stroke in 1952. After her father died in 1967, Vivian cared for her mother until her death in 1981. After her mother died, Vivian cared for her husband, who suffered from Emphysema, until his death in 1987.

Vivian retired from Cleveland Regional Medical Center in 1993 after 32 years as a nursing assistant. Her service is legendary, especially to many parents of newborn babies. During her recent hospital stays we have had occasion to meet many staff members who worked with her. To a person, they have testified that our mother was the sweetest person and hardest working caregiver they ever saw. Her family’s lives have been truly blessed by Vivian’s loving service. We will miss her terribly.

Vivian was preceded in death by her parents, Lee Summerow and Mary Digh Eaker; two brothers, Norman and Jessie Eaker; and her beloved husband and “Sugar Babe”, Robert Lee Champion.

Her three sons survive her: Mike and his wife, Paula, and sons, Ben, Kevin, and Sam of Olathe, Kan., Tim, his daughter, Jennifer and son, Justin, of Lawndale, and Bill and his wife, Cecilia, and daughter, Amanda, of Murphy; and son, Daniel of Knoxville, Tenn. She is also survived by her brothers, Jim, Ray, and Paul Eaker; and sisters, Mildred Yeck and Betty Putnam.

The funeral will be today at 6:30 p.m. at Stamey Funeral Home.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home following the service until 8:30 p.m.

A graveside committal service will be Saturday at 9 a.m. in Union Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The American Cancer Society, 500 E. Morehead St., Suite 211, Charlotte, NC 28202; or to Hospice of Cleveland County, 951 Wendover Heights Drive, Shelby, NC 28150.