Passing of Charles Champion

Museum Statement on the Passing of Dr. Charles A. Champion

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Charles A. Champion, a community pillar, pharmacist, and master compounder of Champion’s Pharmacy and Herb Store since 1981. Our deepest condolences to the Champion Family. 

The Champion Family’s ties are intertwined with the Museum through the Lorraine Motel’s history. In 1958, Dr. Champion married Carolyn Bailey, the daughter of the Lorraine’s owners, Walter and Loree Bailey, at the motel. From 2016-2020, the Champions were honored guests at the Museum’s Night at the Lorraine celebrations which highlighted the Lorraine Motel as a Green Book refuge in the Jim Crow era and cultural center in the Black community.

Dr. Champion and his family were beloved by the Museum. Over the years, he recalled stories of the Lorraine in its heyday, and working with his in-laws. We are indebted to his generosity in sharing his story with us and his long-standing work with the community.

As the first Black pharmacist in a Memphis hospital, Dr. Champion had a long tradition of serving and providing a holistic approach to healing to help bridge gaps in healthcare access. He was a trusted advisor for common ailments and was honored among his peers with several awards.

Dr. Champion’s caring tradition continues with his family and the many people he served. Both daughters, Dr. Carol “Cookie” Champion and Dr. Charita Champion Brookins, are pharmacists.

We are grateful for Dr. Champion’s love for his community and the many people he served. His legacy is forever etched into the soul of this city and the history of the Lorraine Motel at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Rest well, Dr. Champion. You will truly be missed, but your legacy lives on.

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