Cham­pion ceme­tery has spe­cial mon­u­ment to rec­og­nize its cen­ten­nial an­niver­sary

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Vauxhall - BY HEATHER CAMERON

The ceme­tery in Cham­pion has been in ex­is­tence100 years of­fi­cially this year. Those who look af­ter the ceme­tery erected a spe­cial mon­u­ment to com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion.

“The mon­u­men­tal sign was erected this spring and the re-ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony was held on July 1st with close to 100 in at­ten­dance,” said Racille El­lis, a vol­un­teer with the Cham­pion Ceme­tery Main­te­nance As­so­ci­a­tion.

El­lis said that Judy Fleet­wood, the pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion, chaired the cer­e­mony and Anne Carl­son, who had sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of her fam­ily buried in the ceme­tery, gave a short his­tory.

“Let­ters were sent out to fam­i­lies who had loved ones laid to rest in the ceme­tery in­form­ing them of the 100 years project and the re­sponse of mon­e­tary do­na­tions were very gen­er­ous,” El­lis said.

Lo­cated south of the vil­lage of Cham­pion, the ceme­tery is al­ways open and has a Field of Hon­our lo­cated at the south end with two flags grac­ing a large cross, while a huge white cross, that is lit up at night and vis­i­ble from High­way 23, graces the north sec­tion.

El­lis noted the first per­son to be buried there was named Au­gust Blus­son, a early home­steader who lived east of Cham­pion on the Coal Mine road and had a ru­ral school named af­ter him.

Other res­i­dents of the ceme­tery, El­lis ex­plained, in­clude 13 peo­ple who were vic­tims of the flu epi­demic and buried in the months fol­low­ing Blus­son's death.

The Ny­gaard fam­ily and Til­lie Gran­lin are among the 13.

El­lis added the ceme­tery is so well cared for be­cause of the Cham­pion Ceme­tery Main­te­nance As­so­ci­a­tion, which was formed in 1984 and re­stored the ceme­tery from a very run down con­di­tion.

“There are ap­prox­i­mately a dozen vol­un­teers who plant and care for the flow­ers in the ceme­tery while most of the mow­ing is hired done,” El­lis said.

“There are still some of the orig­i­nal mem­bers on the com­mit­tee with the next gen­er­a­tion get­ting in­volved and their ef­forts have been greatly ap­pre­ci­ated by the vil­lage and fam­i­lies in­volved.”

Con­trib­uted pho­tos by Izzy El­lis

An­tique cars were added as part of the en­tire new pre­sen­ta­tion. The Cham­pion Ceme­tery Main­te­nance As­so­ci­a­tion erected the new mon­u­men­tal sign and held a re-ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony July 1.

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