LACONIA — The greatest man we never knew, Francis “Frank” Eugene Champagne, 80, of Pearl Street, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Oct. 24, 2019, four years after being diagnosed with cancer, at his home, with his beloved cat, Midnight, asleep by his side.
Frank was born Jan. 20, 1939, in Concord, son of the late Ernest and Thelma (Cooper) Champagne, and lived most of his life in Laconia.
Frank was a dependable, hardworking person, working several jobs in the area; most notably to his children was his job at Barney’s Ice Cream, where he delivered ice cream around the state, bringing a little bit of sweetness to the lives of those frequenting the local stores, restaurants, and dairy bars, as well as providing and ensuring that his family had a good life.
Frank was a quiet, solitary person who hated crowds and only socialized when he had to. However, he was a loyal friend and would do anything for the people he allowed to be close to him, including his good friend, Steve Kolb, whom he went to breakfast with every Saturday for the last 40-plus years, and his childhood friend, Leo Goyette, with whom he spent countless hours fishing or watching Westerns. He loved to make people laugh and, though his humor may have been a little off-color at times, he was a natural comedian.
Frank was a strong-willed person who lived his life on his terms and his way. When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, he was told his time on this earth was probably limited to 1 to 2 years. Frank, being Frank, calmly took the news in stride, as he did with everything, and decided that he would be happy if he could live to the age of 80.
Though the diagnosis devastated his family, it allowed Frank to release the burdens of responsibility he had always carried and do what he wanted to do, including buying himself a brand new truck, fishing every weekend with his son-in-law, Aaron, and driving three laps around the track in Nascar.
Although his passing has left his family heartbroken and he will be missed every day, they are comforted by the fact that he is free from pain and suffering and that he died on his terms. Frank was never one to “put anyone out,” so in the wee hours of the morning of Oct. 24, when he knew everyone he loved was sleeping, he quietly slipped away from us.
Frank cherished the time spent with his family and was many things to many people. He was a husband for 55 years to Priscilla (Randlett) Champagne; he was a dad to his daughters, Francine Sanborn and her husband, Rick, and Colleen Richardson and her husband, Aaron; he was a brother to Elaine Emuff, Sandra “Peanut” Martel, and Phylliss Bolduc; he was an uncle to many nieces and nephews; he was a grampa to Spencer Merriam, Charlie (known to everyone but him as Charlotte) Murphy, Zachary Pearson, Ricki Anne Baker, and Christian Sanborn; and a great-grandfather to Brantley and Lillian Murphy.
Per Frank’s wishes, there will be no calling hours or services.
Frank loved animals and requested that, in lieu of flowers, please care for a stray adopt-a-shelter animal, or make a donation to the N.H. Humane Society, PO Box 572, Laconia, NH 03247.
Rest in Peace, Daddy!
“The greatest man I never knew lived just down the hall,
and every day we said hello but never touched at all.
He was in his paper. I was in my room.
How was I to know he thought I hung the moon?
The greatest man I never knew came home late every night,
He never had to much to say. Too much was on his mind.
I never really knew him, oh and now it seems so sad.
Everything he gave to us took all he had.
Then the days turned into years, and the memories to black and white.
He grew cold like an old winter wind blowing across my life.
The greatest words I never heard I guess I'll never hear.
The man I thought could never die has been dead almost a year.
Oh, he was good at business but there was business left to do.
He never said he loved me. Guess he thought I knew.”
Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant St., Laconia, is assisting the family with the arrangements. For more information and to view an online memorial, go to www.wilkinsonbeane.com.