DURHAM- Alicia Baldwin “Lisa” Champion died on September 3, 2011 in a sudden and swift onset of lung cancer. She was the daughter of the later Alice Nelson Walker and Albert Baldwin Walker of West Hartford. Lisa was born in 1941 and attended Oxford School in West Hartford and graduated from Wells College in Aurora, NY in 1963 where she majored in English literature. Following a time employed as an editor in the former Appleton Century Crofts publishing house in New York City, Lisa traveled to England in 1965 for an extended tour of the British Isles and, particularly, of regions and places significant in the literature that she loved and had studied. So taken with the British Isles, she became a teacher of English and American literature in a high school in the town of Staines, outside of London.
There she met and married her husband of forty-four years, David Frederick Champion, in 1967. With her husband, she set out to explore Europe by way of seeking teaching jobs. The couple found positions, Lisa as a teacher of English in a special language school in Rouse, Bulgaria, on the Danube. They remained there for two years and then returned to England.
Lisa took up teaching in Lincolnshire upon their return along with a master’s degree of English at Nottingham University in the evenings. She was a remarkably successful teacher, rising in a few years to head of department and later Deputy Head of a prestigious old school in the town of Market Rasen. She was offered but declined the headship of High School in Lincolnshire. She continued to teach while her husband completed his master’s degree in Ergonomics.
In late 1981 Lisa and David moved to the United States. After a brief period in Connecticut, they moved to Raleigh, North Carolina. Lisa worked as an editor and got deeply involved in charity work. She became chairperson of Friends of the Children at Wake Medical Hospital. Lisa encouraged and pushed David to obtain his doctorate in Human Factors Engineering at North Carolina State University.
David and Lisa moved to Columbus, Georgia, where she worked as an editor for a contractor at the Army Research Institute at Fort Benning; David worked at the same institute.
In 1989, Lisa and David moved to Durham, North Carolina, where both began work for IBM in the Research Triangle Park. Lisa started a group of IBM volunteers who cleaned and repaired literally thousands of toys that they then delivered to hospitals and orphanages wherever they were needed. She continued to work at IBM until 2006.
Despite breast cancer surgery in 1992, Lisa was an intrepid traveler, with a great love for discovery of new places and strange food. With David after both retired, she traveled in the Mediterranean, the Baltic, Alaska, Europe and Caribbean and Canada.
She always had an active interest in people. She knew the names of the wait staff of the restaurants David and she visited regularly and was interested in their families and their welfare. She cared a greatly about David’s colleagues at work, especially the young interns and loved to spend time talking with them. She loved classical music and played it all day, she never stopped reading, and she never lost her love of fine literature.
In early July, Lisa was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. A first round of chemotherapy did not go well. Lisa declined a second round. She was very brave, without tears or protest at the unfairness of life. A gallant lady, she retained her dignity to the end and will be sorely missed.
Lisa was predeceased by her parents and her sister, Susan Peck Walker. Lisa is survived by her husband, David; by her brother, Philip Nelson Walker and wife, Denise, of Barkhamsted, Connecticut; nephew, William Alan Walker and wife, Kate Berkley Walker, of Chicago and San Francisco.
A memorial will be held 11:00 AM Saturday, September 17, 2011 in the Chapel of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, 1113 W. Main Street, Durham, NC 27701.
Online condolences www.hallwynne.com, Select Obituaries.