James “Jim” Champagne passed away on December 19th, 2023, at the age of 77, following a battle with cancer. Jim was a long-time member of the tight-knit community of Vashon Island, where he and his wife, Cherry, raised their two children in a house that Jim designed. A life long science enthusiast, Jim worked in Seattle doing biochemical research and also designed patented research technology before retirement. James is survived by his wife, Cherry, daughter, Nicole, son, Chris, son-in-law, David, grandson, Cade, granddaughter, Nora, brother, Bob, and sister in-law Ree. His parents, Winnie and Kenny Hammer, and brother, Jack, preceded him in death.
James was born on August 30th, 1946, in Butte, Montana to Winifred and Roy Champagne. He was the youngest of three brothers. Jim was in foster care in his early years, with fond memories of the Aves, a farm couple, who cared for him and his brothers for several years. At age 7, he and his brothers moved back to live with their mom and step-dad, Kenny Hammer, in Enumclaw, Washington. James served in the Army Reserve from 1965-1971 while studying drafting at Highline Community College.
Jim began his professional career as a draftsman, then doing biochemical research at the University of Washington after obtaining a degree inscience.He laterworked inthe private sector, doing pharmaceutical development, and then went freelance to develop patents for pharmaceutical research technology.
At the age of 4, Jim taught himself to read and was an avid reader all his life.
He had a wide variety of interests. As a student at the University ofWashington, he learned to sail and owned a boatfor many years, sailing on Lake Union, Lake Washington and Puget Sound. He loved to design houses and built his own house on Vashon Island.
In retirement, Jim’s favorite pastime was attending Vashon music events.
He was a loving and devoted father and grandfather. His interest in everything around him helped him create many memorable moments for his children and grandchildren. Jim loved life and the people in it.His legacy of love continues in allthose he touched and left behind.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held Sunday, January 28th, at 2:30pm, at the Camp Burton Lodge on Vashon Island.